The Cypriot authorities are forecasting a growth in tourist arrivals to the island of 50 percent lower than the 10 percent recorded last year, in part because of vacationers being lured to Turkey, which, due to the sharp drop in the value of its currency, can at this time offer particularly attractive prices.
Last year saw a record 2.68 million tourists visiting the island, of which about half were British. Indeed, the general increase in tourism was largely a result of increased arrivals from the United Kingdom, which were up 15.5 percent on 1999. But, while the British flow is still strong, it too has weakened compared with last year, according to Phryne Michael, the director general of the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), in conversation with Cyprus Mail One of the reasons he gave was the huge interest in Turkey, essentially brought on by the devaluation in the Turkish lira.
Still, Michael said, Cyprus is likely to do better than other Mediterranean countries. The number of visitors from Greece, Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia is expected to increase this year, and the CTO hopes that Israeli market’s 27 percent drop last year will be reversed.
Last year, tourism to Cyprus from the United States rose by 50 percent to 28,000 visitors, and Michael intends that the trend continue. Efforts are underway to establish a direct air link with New York, but nothing definite has been decided yet, he stated.
A market that is not going to get much attention this year is the Japanese one. Serious efforts were made in recent years to increase tourist flow from that country, but efforts resulted in fewer than 1,000 Japanese visiting the island in 2000. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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