With a new large decrease of 91.2%, the tourism industry said goodbye last year, during which total losses of 84% were recorded, due to the pandemic and the measures to stop it. The saddest in terms of tourist losses for 2020 was announced yesterday by the Statistical Service, giving data for December and for the whole of last year, which, as expected, did not change the negative picture presented by the industry until November. According to the Statistical Service, tourist arrivals in December 2020 were reduced to 9,682, compared to 110,330 in December 2019, recording a decrease of 91.2%. For the period January – December 2020, tourist arrivals were reduced to 631,609, compared to 3,976,777 in the corresponding period of 2019, recording a decrease of 84.1%.
From the above data it appears that last year 3,245,168 tourists visited Cyprus less than in 2019, which was a record year for Cypriot tourism. Last year's performance, however, takes the industry 37 years back, having closed at about the same level in 1983, when tourist arrivals reached 620,726, up from 548,180 in 1982. It is noted that tourism revenues also declined significantly last year, with data available so far – until October – show losses of more than 2 billion euros. Specifically, in the first 10 months, revenues from tourism recorded a decrease of 85% and are estimated at 376 million compared to 2.53 billion in the same period of 2019.
Yesterday's statistics, however, record the blow suffered last year by Cypriot tourism in terms of arrivals, but have long been discounted by industry due to the pandemic and the measures taken in Cyprus and abroad to deal with of. In Cyprus, as the Statistical Service reminded yesterday, the measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) included the ban on entry into the Republic of various categories of persons, including tourists, from March until 8/6 / 2020. From June onwards, the measures were gradually lifted and the arrival of specific countries was allowed according to the categorization of countries by the Ministry of Health, based on assessments of their epidemiological risks. However, flights from the British market, the most important market for Cypriot tourism, resumed only in August, while the Russian market remains essentially “closed”. According to the data announced yesterday, arrivals from the United Kingdom were reduced last year to 228,047 compared to 1,330,635 in 2019, recording a decrease of 83%.
Towards a gradual recovery
Due to last year's negative record and the vaccinations that began, the estimates of the tourism industry is that from this year there will be a gradual recovery of arrivals. These assessments are reinforced by the announced changes in the categorization of countries that will allow, among other things, the opening of the Russian market, without imposing quarantine on Russian visitors from March onwards, provided, of course, that a negative molecular test is provided. The Undersecretary of Tourism may give a first indication of the course of the arrivals this year. Savvas Perdios was invited to today's meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce, to present the implementation of the National Tourism Strategy, however it is considered certain that he will be asked about the course of the tourism industry in general.
However, as “F” has already written, this year's course of arrivals is expected to be judged by the handling of visitors who will have already been vaccinated. On the subject, although in the amended Action Plan for the gradual resumption of flights and reopening of Cyprus airports there was provision for travelers to be vaccinated with reference to their exclusion from laboratory tests, as much as EU guidelines are expected. and by the World Health Organization. Already, at EU level, various proposals are being considered for the introduction of vaccination certificates to facilitate trafficking within the Union, including a proposal by the Greek Prime Minister.