Recession-hit Cyprus recorded a 15% hike in key tourism revenue in March, the first rise in income this year, official data showed. Tourism income on the Mediterranean holiday island reached €65mil (RM275.24mil) from €56.5mil (RM239.21mil) in the same month last year.
This was helped by a 25.7% surge in tourist arrivals in March, especially from the island’s main market Britain.
The average daily amount spent by tourists in March was €69.36 (RM278.49), while the average length of stay was 9.6 days.
This compares with a lower average daily spending of €69.27 (RM278.12) in March 2014 on higher average stays of 10.5 days.
Lebanese were the biggest spenders in March at an average €143.03 (RM574.28) a day, while the Greeks were the most frugal at €43.71 (RM175.50).
Last year, Cyprus tourism generated €2.02bil (RM8.11bil), a 2.8% drop from 2013’s €2.08bil (RM8.35bil). It was the first dip in receipts since 2009.
Following a €10bil (RM40.15bil) rescue package to save a crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013, Cyprus is expected to return to growth this year after nearly four years of harsh recession.
Although revenue from tourism was down last year, the earnings of €2.08bil (RM8.35bil) in 2013 were the best for a decade.
The number of holidaymakers to Cyprus hit a record high of 2.69 million in 2001, spending a record €2.17bil (RM8.71bil).
Income from tourism accounts for around 12% of Cyprus’s GDP, and is credited for ensuring that Nicosia did not suffer a double-digit recession post-bailout as first feared. – AFP Relaxnews