Cyprus’ heavy dependence on two or three countries could be arguably described as a plague for the island’s tourism sector. An analysis of the CTO’s records shows that over the years, the United Kingdom supplies Cyprus with the highest number of tourists.
Now, the Russian market is on the front line. More specifically, 108,821 Russian tourists visited Cyprus in 2002. Within a period of 15 years, their numbers have shot up by 650% — in 2017, the number of Russian tourists peaked at 824,494, with the Russian market accounting for 22.6% of total arrivals for 2017.
Overall, tourist arrivals have more than tripled, rising from 900,727 tourists back in 1986 to the more than 3.6 million visitors the country welcomed in 2017.
Growing scepticism over Russian tourists
In 2017, tourist arrivals peaked at 3,652,073, compared to 3,186,531 in 2016, marking an increase of 14.6% and setting a record. Larnaca and Paphos airports saw record breaking annual traffic figures, as both airports welcomed 10 million passengers in 2017.
Stakeholders had anticipated that Cyprus will welcome more that 4 million tourists in 2018. However, after Easter, hoteliers and travel agents have expressed a growing scepticism over the trend, despite the rise in arrivals in the first four months of the year. Particular concern was raised about the Russian market, due to a possible negative impact from the opening up of Turkey and Egypt.