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14 July, 2024
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Russian tourist arrivals expected to drop this year

Experts not in panic mode as many Russians could choose Turkey over Cyprus in 2018


Holiday reservations appear to be down this time of the year but experts believe things could be on the upswing again, even as Russian arrivals in Cyprus take a hit due to competition from Turkey.

Despite having a very good year in 2017, tourism agencies are warning that the current business strategy with a sole focus on just a handful of markets is already having an impact on what Cyprus can expect this year.

About 79% of tourist arrivals in the Republic of Cyprus come from five countries, the United Kingdom, Russia, Greece, Germany, and Israel.

Cyprus has prided itself in a safe holiday destination in a wider region that has suffered from political turmoil. But critics say the current strategy of relying solely on big traditional markets, such as Russia, may not pay off later when other factors draw that market away in just one swipe. 

Expert says March was a very good month this year and despite a drop in April, this is not necessarily bad news

Russian arrivals could fall as much as 20-25% this year in Cyprus, according to some estimates, due to competition from Turkey. Experts believe many Russians are more likely to choose cheaper holiday destinations especially now that Turkey has resumed its campaign and opened up to Russia.

But it is still not clear whether a fall in some markets would spell out trouble for the island.

A Cyprus Hotel Association representative, Thanos Michaelides who presides over the network’s local committee in Paphos, says that occupancy rates in his town are satisfactory.

Michaelides told daily Phileleftheros that March was a very good month this year and despite a drop in April, this is not necessarily bad news.

April moved slower this year compared to same time of year in 2017, according to Michaelides, who added that last year the Catholic Easter was in March so essentially a slower April now is not necessarily a sign of trouble.

The official also said that Israeli tourists could easily make up for the Russian drop, which also could be temporary as the tourism industry often sees fluctuations due on a number of factors.

A record 3.65 million tourists enjoyed a Cyprus holiday last year, spending an unprecedented 2.6 billion euros.

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