20 May 2014 10:33

Cyprus tourism arrivals marked their biggest increase in three years on the back of an influx of British tourists in April.
In April arrivals spiked 11.4% to 180,998 from 162,439 in the same month of 2013, official data shows.
It was the sharpest rise in tourist arrivals since July 2011 and follows from a 16.3% decrease recorded in March.
Encouragingly there was a significant 18.9% jump in holidaymakers from the island’s number one market Britain reaching 73,556 from 61,888 in April 2013.
There was also a 13.7% increase from Russia – despite the crisis in Crimea - a 22.7% rise in tourists from Germany and a 1.7% improvement from Greece - offsetting a 35.1% plunge from Sweden.
A bumper April – assisted by the Easter holidays in Europe - also helped turnaround figures for the first four months.
In the four-month period January-April tourist arrivals totalled 344,435 compared to 339,672 in the same period of 2013, recording an increase of 1.4%.
After the first four months Britain (133,161 visitors) remained in top spot, followed by Russia (49,487), Greece (30,089) and Germany (20,276) in fourth.
In 2013 there was a 2.4% dip in tourist arrivals to the holiday island reaching 2.40 million from 2.46 million in 2012. Tourism officials are hopeful that 2014 will show an improvement on last year especially as more direct markets to Cyprus are beginning to open up.
Improved arrival figures combined with better revenue is fanning hopes that the key sector can pull the economy out of recession next year.
The largest annual fall in tourist arrivals for 2013 was a 31.5% plunge from Germany, followed by a 21.1% dip from Greece and a 7.1% drop from Britain.
Only a sharp 28.3% rise in high-spending Russians in 2013 prevented a steeper drop in visitors when the bailed-out economy needed them most.
Although tourist arrivals were down last year, the €2.08 billion revenue received in 2013 was the best for a decade.
Arrivals in 2012 increased 3% reaching 2.46 million visitors from 2.39 million for 2011.
The last time arrivals to the recession-hit holiday island surpassed this figure was in 2005 when 2.47 million people visited.
In 2012, annual tourism revenue rose to its highest figure since 2002 reaching ¤1.92 billion from 1.74 billion despite the financial crisis.
Holidaymakers to Cyprus hit a record high of 2.69 million in 2001 spending a record ¤2.17 billion.
Income from tourism accounts for around 12% of Cyprus’ GDP.


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