Hermes Airports statistics reveal that August achieved an unprecedented milestone in air traffic, with a total of 1.516 million passengers. When examining this figure in terms of arrivals and tourist arrivals, it amounts to 511,387 arrivals. Notably, 200,000 Cypriots also traveled during August. In comparison to 2019, there is a 7.7% decline in August arrivals this year and only a 3.2% decrease in arrivals for the January-August period compared to 2019, equating to a difference of 87,044 arrivals. This gap appears surmountable with minor increases from key tourist markets.
Hermes Airports projects that September will maintain a satisfactory level of passenger traffic, expected to close at around 1.4 million passengers, with approximately 490,000 tourist arrivals.
Three markets have experienced a decline in arrivals compared to 2019 (excluding Russia and Poland), according to data from the Statistical Office processed by the Cyprus Tourism Business Association (STEC). The UK witnessed a 2.5% decrease (23,157 tourists), although it remains the market with the highest number of arrivals, surpassing 910,000 arrivals up to August this year. A decrease of 1.8% (1,911 tourists) was observed in the Swedish market, and the Norwegian market saw a 5.9% decrease (2,646 tourists).
Significant Impact from Poland and Israel
Poland and Israel have made the most significant impact on tourist numbers. Poland experienced a substantial increase of 127,462 arrivals for the January-August 2023 period compared to the same period in 2023. Israel contributed a total of 311.7 thousand tourists in the first eight months of this year, marking a remarkable 53.6% increase and 108,755 more passengers than in 2019. The French market, while smaller in scale, demonstrated substantial growth since 2019 with a 153.6% increase, welcoming 56,560 French tourists this year, surpassing the previous record year for tourism by 34,258 arrivals. Significant increases were also recorded from Hungary (+120%), Austria (+85.2%), Denmark (+54%), the Czech Republic (+71.5%), and Germany (+33.8%).
Surprising Air Arrivals
Unexpectedly, there were 56 arrivals recorded from the Russian and Ukrainian markets by the end of August. Additionally, 818 thousand passengers arrived via stopovers, primarily from Yerevan airport in Armenia to Larnaca airport, with 20 flights per week offered during August. Russia also featured in the top five destinations for Cypriot travelers in August, with approximately 6.5 thousand Cyprus residents visiting.
Autumn Tourism Outlook
The strength of a tourism month is often reflected in the number of flights available. For example, in August, Larnaca Airport had 697 flights per week, with expectations of 662 flights per week in September and 629 in October. Similarly, at Paphos Airport, there were 269 flights per week in August, slightly decreasing to 266 in September and 254 in October.
The future of tourism in Cyprus for the remainder of the year depends on the coming months. It remains to be seen whether October, November, and December will outperform previous years in terms of tourism. However, the prospect of 400 thousand additional airline seats being offered in the November-March period compared to last year is promising. This augments the share of winter passenger traffic and, consequently, winter tourism. According to the flight schedule for Larnaca and Paphos airports, flight frequencies are as follows: 379 flights per week for November and 349 for December at Larnaca airport, and 147 flights per week for November and 134 for December at Paphos airport, totaling 526 flights per week for November and 483 for December.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]