Tourism arrivals rose 23.9 per cent in the first two months of this year, the statistical service Cystat said on Thursday.
Arrivals for January and February amounted to 114, 596 compared with 92,508 in the corresponding period of 2015.
Based on the results of the passenger survey, arrivals in February numbered 65,988 compared with 50,709 in February 2015, an increase of 30.1 per cent.
Numbers rose 28 per cent from the UK in February, 16.6 per cent from Greece, and 101.1 per cent from Russia – from 3,659 last February to 7,358 this year. At the beginning of last year, the Russian tourism market was depressed due to the bite of EU sanctions and a fall in the value of the rouble.
Also in February this year, there was a fall of 29.9 per cent in tourists from France compared to the same month in 2015.
Cyprus saw a record 2.9 million tourists last year partly due to the political situation in the region with neighbouring competitors such as Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt suffering terrorist attacks.
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) said on Thursday it expected 2016 to be a good year.
CTO press spokesman Pantelis Ioannides told CNA the indications were that bar unexpected developments, arrivals would rise on average 5 per cent over 2015.
Numbers are due to be up from the UK, Israel, Poland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and other markets, plus significant numbers from Russia given the continued instability in Turkey, which was their number one destination. Though Russian tourism was down 17 per cent to Cyprus last year, the number fell short of the expected 25 per cent drop.
“We did quite well considering what was happening in this market,” Ioannides said.
“But this year we expect that things will be much better. We expect growth from Russia. These are the signs and what has been reflected in our contacts, and an increase already this year shows that we are on the right track, that things will go well and that we can expect to strengthen the local economy even further in the current year.”