An influx of British, Russian and Israeli tourists ensured Cyprus achieved its best-ever figures for arrivals in August with a record 553,600 visitors, official data indicated on Tuesday.
The Mediterranean island has beaten all previous August records this year with tourist arrivals reaching 553,626 from 534,847 in 2018, a 3.6 per cent annual increase, the state statistical service said.
Another record was also broken for the first eight months of the year (January-August) with the number of tourists coming to Cyprus rising 0.6 per cent on last year to an unprecedented 2.735 million from 2.719 million in 2018.
Tourist from the island’s biggest market the UK (186,071) increased by 1 per cent in August on an annual basis, arrivals from second largest market Russia (115,682) were also up 1.8 per cent while visitors from Israel (51,871) spiked 23.6 per cent.
This was countered by a 14.2 per cent decline in tourists from Germany (15,794), a 20.3 per cent and a 0.2 per cent drop from Sweden (20,673).
Holidaymakers from the UK is by far the island’s largest market with a 33.6 per cent share in August, followed by Russia with 20.9 per cent, nearby Israel is third with 9.4 per cent and Sweden 3.7 per cent.
Increases were also seen from other emerging countries, such as Norway up 19.4 per cent and Finland 16 per cent.
The holiday island has benefited from its reputation as a regional safe haven as unrest has hit the tourism sectors of its traditional competitors Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.
Cyprus annual tourist arrivals spiked 7.8 per cent in 2018 to a record 3.93 million as revenue touched a historic high of 2.71 billion euros.
Cypriot authorities say they would be satisfied to meet last year’s targets due to stiffer competition from cheaper neighbouring destinations like Turkey and the unforeseen impact of a no-deal Brexit
The tourism boom helped Cyprus return to growth following a €10-billion bailout to rescue its crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013.
Income from tourism now accounts for about 15% of the country’s gross domestic product and is credited with underpinning a quick recovery with GDP growth at around 3.5 per cent.