12° Nicosia,
15 July, 2024

2% of winter visitors to Cyprus stay in occupied areas

Survey reveals tourist preferences and patterns, highlighting movement between free and occupied regions

Pavlos Neophytos

A new survey from Hermes Airports shows that 2% of tourists visiting Cyprus during the winter months (October 2023 - March 2024) stayed in the occupied areas. Additionally, 3% visited the occupied areas while staying in the free areas.

According to a source from Hermes, this 2% equates to about 56,000 people out of 2.8 million visitors, or roughly 266 people per week. This supports reports of tourist vans coming from the occupied territories to pick up tourists from airports in the free areas.

The survey, conducted among 2,600 departing passengers, aims to understand travelers' profiles, including their reasons for visiting and where they stayed.

In the free areas, Paphos was the top destination for winter tourists. Hermes attributes this to more Ryanair flights and open hotels.

When asked, "What is the main area of Cyprus where you stayed during your visit?" tourists responded:
- Paphos: 35%
- Larnaca: 22%
- Limassol: 17%
- Agia Napa/Protaras/Paralimni: 9%
- Occupied areas: 2%
- Mountainous village or hinterland: 0.3%

When asked, "During your stay in Cyprus, which other region did you visit?" the responses were:
- Limassol: 21%
- Larnaca: 16%
- Nicosia: 15%
- Agia Napa/Protaras/Paralimni: 12%
- Mountain villages or highlands: 9%
- Occupied areas: 3%

The survey also revealed where visitors came from and their preferred places to stay. In Paphos, most tourists were from Lithuania (73%), Poland (70%), and the UK (62%). Larnaca saw many visitors from Lebanon (57%), Israel (45%), and Romania (41%). In Limassol, tourists mainly came from Israel (39%), Italy (33%), and the USA (26%). Free Famagusta attracted visitors from Serbia (29%), Austria (25%), Latvia (13%), and Germany (13%).

For the occupied areas, most visitors were British and Americans (4%), followed by Germans (3%), Austrians (3%), Israelis (2%), and Poles (2%).

These insights highlight the movement between the free and occupied areas of Cyprus. Understanding these tourist patterns helps shape future strategies and policies, catering to diverse visitor needs while addressing the island's unique challenges.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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