Robust growth in tourist arrivals in Cyprus reaffirms post-pandemic recovery

Tourist arrivals in Cyprus experienced an increase of 18.5 per cent in April 2023, compared to the same period last year, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Cyprus Statistical Service (Cystat).

In addition, Cypriot residents’ trips abroad during the same time grew by more than half over the corresponding period of the previous year, with Greece being their primary destination.

According to the report, in April 2023, the total number of tourist arrivals reached 342,736, while in April 2022, the same figure stood at 289,335.

Looking at the aggregated figures for the period from January to April 2023, there were 736,629 tourist arrivals, representing a significant surge of 37.9 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2022, which recorded 534,040 arrivals.

Among the countries contributing to the tourist influx in April 2023, the United Kingdom accounted for the largest share, making up 36.3 per cent (124,455) of total arrivals. Israel followed with 9.9 per cent (34,069).

Poland and Germany both contributed 6.7 per cent to Cyprus’ tourist arrivals, with 23,063 and 23,038 visitors respectively, while Greece constituted 6.2 per cent (21,184) of all arrivals.

Regarding the purpose of travel in April 2023, the majority of tourists (79.3 per cent) visited Cyprus for vacation, 14.5 per cent came to visit friends or relatives, and 6 per cent visited for business purposes.

Comparatively, in April 2022, 80.2 per cent of tourists visited Cyprus for holidays, 14.6 per cent came to visit friends or relatives, and 5.2 per cent visited for business reasons.

Cypriot trips abroad surged with Greece as the preferred destination

At the same time, the number of Cypriot residents travelling abroad witnessed a substantial increase in April 2023, totalling 135,659 trips compared to 81,062 trips in April 2022, marking a surge of 67.4 per cent.

Among the countries from which Cypriot residents returned in April 2023, Greece held the highest share, accounting for 34.0 per cent (46,086) of the total trips.

The United Kingdom followed with 8.5 per cent (11,482), while France constituted 4.2 per cent (5,664).

In addition, Italy contributed 3.7 per cent (4,962), and Hungary accounted for 3.6 per cent (4,886).

The primary purpose of travel for Cypriot residents in April 2023 was predominantly for holidays, making up 70.7 per cent of the trips.

Professional reasons accounted for 20.1 per cent, while studies represented 7.2 per cent, and other reasons comprised 2.1 per cent.

The significant increase in Cypriot trips abroad reflects a growing desire among residents to explore international destinations, with Greece emerging as a popular choice, primarily due to its close proximity and cultural ties to Cyprus.

Booking data suggests robust travel during peak season

Meanwhile, according to an announcement released this week by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), travellers are displaying high levels of confidence for the peak summer travel season in the Northern Hemisphere.

Preliminary bookings data for May to September 2023 is currently tracking at an impressive 35 per cent above the levels seen in 2022.

IATA noted that a recent survey conducted among 4,700 travellers across 11 countries revealed positive sentiments, with 79 per cent of respondents planning a trip during the June to August 2023 period.

While 85 per cent of participants acknowledged the potential for disruptions during peak travel season, 80 per cent expressed confidence in a smooth travel experience, given the resolution of post-pandemic issues.

Looking at the anticipated growth, the Asia Pacific region is expected to experience the highest increase at 134.7 per cent, followed by the Middle East at 42.9 per cent, and Europe at 39.9 per cent.

“For many, this will be their first post-pandemic travel experience. While some disruptions can be expected, there is a clear expectation that the ramping-up issues faced at some key hub airports in 2022 will have been resolved,” IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security Nick Careen said.

“To meet strong demand, airlines are planning schedules based on the capacity that airports, border control, ground handlers, and air navigation service providers have declared. Over the next months, all industry players now need to deliver,” Careen added.