NICOSIA - Agence France-Presse
Greek Cyprus saw its best ever receipts from tourism in 2016, data showed on March 1, in a record year for the Mediterranean holiday island considered a regional safe haven.
Tourism income last year reached 2.36 billion euros ($2.48 billion) compared to 2.11 billion in 2015, an 11.9 percent increase, according to official data.
The previous spending record by holidaymakers was 2.17 billion euros in 2001. Last year’s increase was also the biggest annual percentage rise since 2011.
The surge in tourist spending coincides with a record year in arrivals, with more than 3.18 million people visiting Greek
Cyprus last year.
The Cyprus Tourism Organization, whose figures do not cover the breakaway north of the island, hailed “the excellent results.”
It said “the increase in revenue was achieved despite the 6.6 percent decrease in the average expenditure per traveler... largely due to the global trend for reduced length of stay observed.”
The island has benefited from a surge in arrivals from its largest markets Britain and Russia
as well as a revival in those coming from Greece
It is seen as a safe haven for tourists, with other traditionally popular destinations in the eastern Mediterranean having been hit by political upheaval and security fears.
Income from tourism accounts for about 12 percent of the eurozone member’s gross domestic product and is credited with ensuring a relatively quick recovery.