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A surge in British tourists helped ensure visitors to Cyprus rose 11.3 percent in April to help the bailed-out economy buffer nearly four years of recession, official data showed Friday.
In April arrivals increased 11.3 percent to 201,495 from 180,998 in the same month of 2014, statistical service figures showed.
Last year tourist arrivals totalled 2.44 million compared to 2.40 million the year before, recording an increase of 1.5 percent.
The island’s main tourist market Britain rose 13.3 percent to 83,361) and there was an 71.8 percent spike from Greece (17,825) helping arrivals stay in positive territory.
But there was a 22.5 percent decline from the key Russian market dipping to 25,149.
For the period January – April tourist arrivals totalled 391,483 compared to 344.435 in the same period of 2014, recording an increase of 13.7%.
In 2014 Britain remained in top spot, followed by Russia, Sweden (106,666) and Greece (100,955) in fourth.
Cyprus is benefitting from more direct flights but industry experts say the falling rouble and the demise of national carrier Cyprus Airways could have an impact in 2015.
Improved arrival figures combined with better revenue is fanning hopes that the key sector can pull the economy out of recession in 2015.
The largest annual fall in tourist arrivals for 2014 was a 52.5 percent plunge from Ireland, and the biggest increase from nearby Israel.
Although tourist arrivals were down in 2013, the €2.08 billion revenue received was the best for a decade.
The last time arrivals to the recession-hit holiday island surpassed this figure was in 2005 when 2.47 million people visited.
Holidaymakers to Cyprus hit a record high of 2.69 million in 2001 spending a record €2.17 billion. Revenue estimated for 2014 have yet to be released.
Income from tourism accounts for around 12 percent of Cyprus’ GDP.