The number of Iranians, Russians – and more surprisingly – Greek Cypriots arriving in the north by air and sea has seen a stark increase in the first five months of 2023 compared to the same period last year, according to statistics released by the north’s ‘tourism ministry’.
The number of Russians arriving at Ercan (Tymbou) airport, or the sea ports of Famagusta, Kyrenia, and the Karpaz Gate Marina was over 18,000 between January and May, almost treble the number seen in the first five months of 2022.
In addition, the number of Iranians arriving in the north in the first five months of the year increased by over 50 per cent to over 16,000, compared to the same period last year.
Another stark rise was the near 50 per cent increase in Greek Cypriots arriving in the north via its airports and seaports with over 1,500 Greek Cypriots arriving between January and May this year.
The statistics also provided an update on the number of crossings made to the north via the crossing points so far this year after the north’s central bank had reported the figures up to March on Friday.
By the end of May, just shy of three million crossings to the north via the crossing points had been made. Almost 1.2 million of those crossings were made by Greek Cypriots, while just shy of a million crossings in the opposite direction were made by Turkish Cypriots.
Finally, the statistics showed the number of overnight stays made at the north’s hotels and guesthouses between January and May.
Almost 400,000 people stayed overnight in the north between January and May this year, of whom almost three quarters were citizens of Turkey.
Of the remainder, Germany was the second-most represented country, with almost 25,000 German citizens staying a combined 115,000 nights in the north’s hotels and guesthouses in the first five months of this year.
The British were the third-most frequent overnight stayers, with over 15,000 British citizens staying over 70,000 nights in the north’s hotels and guesthouses.
Greek Cypriots were the fourth-most frequent, with just short of 7,500 Greek Cypriots staying over 14,000 nights in hotels and guesthouses in the north in between January and May.