Nicosia, Nov 23 (SocialNews.XYZ) Tourist arrivals in Cyprus next year are expected to surpass the record-high figure reported in 2019 despite international adverse economic conditions, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said.
He told state-run CyBC radio on Tuesday that arrivals up to the end of this year are expected to reach 80 per cent of the 2019's figure of close to four million visitors.
Tourism is the steam engine of the economy of the eastern Mediterranean island country, accounting for nearly 21 per cent of its GDP of $26.7 billion in 2019, Xinhua news agency reported.
Arrivals of tourists were reduced to about 632,000 in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and then increased to 1,937,000 in 2021, further in 2022, with 3,200,000 visitors expected by the end of the year.
Perdios added that the Ukraine conflict resulted in a cut of 800,000 arrivals from Russia and Ukraine in 2022. However, the loss was made up as a result of increased arrivals from a number of the EU countries, most notably France, Germany and Poland.
He said that the EU countries are emerging as the largest source of tourism for Cyprus, accounting this year for 40 per cent of arrivals, up from 25 per cent before the pandemic.
"We expect that in a few years tourists from EU countries will account for 60 per cent of the total number of visitors arriving in Cyprus," Perdios added.