Cyprus tourism leaps 14.8% in March
Was it an Easter bunny bounce?
Tourism arrivals in Cyprus saw their best monthly increase in years in March, as arrivals of tourists rose by 14.8% over the year earlier to reach 103,803, compared with 90,434 in March 2009.
This was the highest increase since March 2005, according to our calculations.
Some of the increase might be explained by the timing of Easter.
Easter in the Latin rite (and, it so happens this year, the Orthodox church) was celebrated on April 4 in 2010, meaning that school holidays for some tourists will have begun in late March.
By contrast, Easter in 2009 was celebrated closer to the middle of April, on April 12, meaning that fewer people would have been traveling at the end of March. Orthodox Easter was a week later on April 19.
We shall only really know if there was a sustainable increase if arrivals for the full March-April period were up on the year earlier.
The Statistical Service reported that an increase of 5.7% was recorded in tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom (from 41,083 in March 2009 to 43,426 in March 2010).
The UK still accounts for around half of all tourists.
There was also a 20.1% increase from Germany (from 12,812 to 15,391 this year).
On the other hand a decrease of 27.7% was recorded in tourist arrivals from France (1,182 in March 2010 compared with 1,635 in March 2009) and 19.8% decrease from Netherlands (1,180 compared with 1,471 last year).
Arrivals from Russia, now the second largest market annually, were up 10.8% to 4,325.
For the period January - March 2010 arrivals of tourists rose by 5.6% to reach 205,006 compared with 194,127 in the corresponding period of 2009.
Travel abroad rises in February
Meanwhile, the number of residents of Cyprus returning from a trip abroad in February 2010 rose by 3.6% to 71,045, from 68,555 in February 2009.
There was an increase of 17.0% in trips to Greece (from 24,834 in February 2009 to 29,068 in February 2010) and a rise of 7.9% in trips to the UK (from 14,227 to 15,346 this year).
Fiona Mullen, April 13, 2010 - www.financialmirror.com