Tourism in Cyprus

Cyprus’ economy is heavily reliant on the services sector and more specifically on the tourism industry. According to the report issued by the “World Travel & Tourism Council” (“WTTC”) on the economic impact of travel and tourism in 2016, the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was EUR 3,4 bln (19,3% of GDP) in 2015 and is expected to grow by 4,4% to EUR 3,5 bn (19,9% of GDP) in 2016, it is forecasted to rise by 3,6% per annum to EUR 5 bln by 2026 (22,9% of GDP). This rising trend is in line with the growing demand in international tourism. The annual number of tourist arrivals has experienced substantial growth over the last three years, despite a minor decline in 2013. 2016 is considered as a record year, as it is the most successful year ever recorded, with tourist arrivals in Cyprus amounting to 3.2 million. In 2016 there has been an increase of 19.8% compared to 2015 when tourist arrivals reached 2.7 million.

Tourist arrivals during the summer months of May to September are five or even six times more than in the rest of the year. This forces hotels in coastal areas to suspend their operations during winter and although hotels staying open during winter have increased, this is still considered as one of the most significant challenges faced by the tourism industry. 

The increase in tourist arrivals in 2016 compared to 2015 was seen in all months of the year. July recorded the highest arrivals in this specific period with a 14% increase from July 2015.  Most of the tourist arrivals in 2016 originated from Europe (approx. 90%).

Around 36% of tourist arrivals were from the UK, a significant increase in 2016 (+11%) compared to 2015. Arrivals from Russia have increased by 49% during 2016 compared to 2015. Russia remains the second largest tourism market for Cyprus, representing 24% of the market.

Germany remains the fourth largest tourist market in 2016. This is a healthy increase of 10% from 2015, as compared to the significant increase of 29% witnessed between 2015 and 2014.  Sweden, the fifth largest source market of tourists to Cyprus confirms a small 6% increase from 2015.

According to CySTAT, tourism revenue has increased steadily year-on-year since 2013. For the period January – November 2016, revenue from tourism is estimated at EUR2.3 bn compared to EUR2.1 bn in the corresponding months of 2015, representing an increase of 12%.  

However, there is a decline in both expenditure per person and per day expenditure data for the most recent data month of November 2016. Furthermore, the average length of stay has been reduced. More specifically, average expenditure per person for November was €674 whilst this amounted to €757 during the same month last year (11,0% decrease).  The per day average tourist spending was €71,0 for the month of November, compared to €73,47 for the same month last year (3,4% decrease) There is a similar trend in the average length of stay for the month of November. This figure stands at 9,5 days compared to 10,3 days for the same month in 2015 (7,8% decrease).