Overseas travels by Cypriot residents were on the rise over recent years, Phileleftheros reports. In fact, these increased by 24.5% over the past three years despite the financial crisis, shrinking salaries and stronger pressure on borrowers from banks.
Compared to 2018, travels increased by 9% in 2019 but favourite destinations of the past such as Athens and the Greek islands recorded a decline. And new destinations were are on the rise with Cypriots apparently turning their back on Greece because of increased air fares.
Cheaper destinations are sought, even though Greece is one of five countries that 60% of travellers from Cyprus visit — together with Britain, Russia, Germany and Romania. In fact, one in two residents of Cyprus who do travel visits Greece and Britain.
Compared to 2013, travel increased by 41% last year. A total of 1,115,226 trips were recorded in 2013, compared to 1,578,292 trips last year. The first major increase was recorded in 2016 with a double-digit growth (13.3%) with the momentum continuing in 2017, marking an 11% rise.
As expected, Greece absorbs the lion’s share of overseas trips with one in three (519,129) going to Greece and another 14.5% to Britain. The top five destinations are Russia (88,819 trips – 5.6%), Romania (52.418 – 3.3%) and Bulgaria (51.643 – 3.3%).
It is rising air fares to Greece that prompted Cypriots to look for alternative destinations, according to Phileleftheros. In 2019, trips to Greece declined by 4% compared to the year before. Specifically, 124,960 trips were recorded in July-August last year, compared to 142,516 in 2018, marking a decrease of 12.3%.
However, other destinations recorded a double-digit growth, thus, absorbing Greece’s falling numbers. Trips to Russia last year increased by 20% to 88,819, to Germany by 23% to 49,712, and to Bulgaria by 10% to 51,643. Lower increases are recorded for trips to Britain (6.8%) rising to 229,574 and to Romania (9.7%) rising to 52,418.
Cypriots travel more than residents of other EU countries, according to Eurostat as a share of the population. Luxembourg’s residents spent most nights abroad per capita in 2017 (26.1 nights on average), followed by Sweden (21.4 nights) and Cyprus (19.9 nights).
By Demetra Landou