British tourists boost Cyprus holiday arrivals

·1-min read
The number of tourists arriving in Cyprus last month rose more than tenfold compared to March 2021.

The number of tourists arriving in Cyprus last month rose more than tenfold compared to March 2021, boosted by British holidaymakers returning and dwindling Covid-19 restrictions.

Total tourist arrivals reached 128,840 in March this year, up from 8,811 in the same month of last year and 55,342 in March 2020, offering hope for the impending peak Summer season.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom - the Mediterranean island's largest market - totalled nearly 45,000 in March, accounting for almost 35 percent of visitors, the Statistical Service of Cyprus said.

But overall arrivals are still some way off pre-pandemic levels. In March 2019, nearly 170,000 tourists came to Cyprus.

The industry is banking on bumper arrivals from Britain this year, meeting demand that was left unsatisfied during the pandemic.

British holidaymakers arriving in Cyprus are no longer required to fill out a coronavirus flight pass, or a passenger locator form when returning home.

The only significant requirement that remains in place is that unvaccinated visitors undergo a negative rapid antigen test within 24 hours of travel, or a PCR test within 72 hours.

But the extent of Cyprus' tourism recovery will be limited by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and consequent European Union sanctions on Moscow.

Russia normally accounts for a fifth of Cyprus' tourist arrivals. But the industry now expects no holidaymakers from either Russia or Ukraine this Summer.

Pre-pandemic, tourism income accounted for about 15 percent of GDP.

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