Crisis-hit Greek Cyprus enjoys tourism revenues

Crisis-hit Greek Cyprus enjoys tourism revenues

NICOSIA - Agence France-Presse
Crisis-hit Greek Cyprus enjoys tourism revenues

June tourism receipts increased by 15.7 percent year over year bringing a much needed breather to the Greek Cypriot economy as revenues hit 254.4 mln euros. AFP photo

Tourism revenue is providing a much-needed boost for the beleaguered Greek Cyprus economy as June receipts increased 15.7 percent from the same month in 2011, official data showed yesterday.

Revenue in June reached 254.5 million euros compared to 220 million euros in the same month last year - a rise of 34.5 million as arrivals also improved annually by 9.7 percent.

Tourism income from January to June reached 645.7 million but this excludes March, for which no official figures were collected.

Revenue from tourism in March 2011 was 66.4 million euros, contributing to a 676.9 million total for the first six months of that year.

The average daily amount spent by tourists this June was 81.50 euros while the average stay was 9.5 days.

A year ago the average stay was 9.4 days while daily average spending was a lower 78.10 euros.

Israelis spend most

Israelis were the biggest spenders this June, averaging 145.90 euros a day, while the recession-hit Greeks were the most frugal spending 50.80 euros.

Annual tourism revenue in Greek Cyprus rose to its highest level for three years in 2011 reaching 1.749 billion euros despite the financial crisis.

The 12.9 percent jump in revenue compared to the 2010 figure of 1.54 billion euros was close to official targets of 1.8 billion euros for the year.

This was made possible by a 10.1 percent increase in tourist arrivals last year boosted by holidaymakers from Britain, Russia and Germany.

Tourism industry officials are confident that 2012 can maintain this level of income, especially with in a bigger influx of high-spending Russians and Germans.

The surge in revenues suggests that Greek Cyprus is still benefiting from political turmoil in the Middle East as holidaymakers seek alternative family-friendly destinations.

Improved tourism income is one of the few bright spots for Greek Cyprus’s struggling economy as Greek exposed banks are surviving on state aid.

Nicosia is currently negotiating a bailout with European Union officials after entering the support mechanism in June.

Moreover June revenues are up 45.1 percent on 2009 levels when the financial crisis began to bite.
Income from tourism accounts for nearly 12 percent of Greek Cyprus’s GDP.

Holidaymakers to Greek Cyprus hit a high of 2.69 million in 2001, spending a record 2.17 billion euros.