Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) figures have shown that Britons remain the biggest visitors to the island with 30.6 million people from Great Britain having spent their holidays in Cyprus since 1986.
The same figures show that holidaymakers from Germany and Switzerland had at one time been popular visitors to the island but they have since been overtaken by Russians while Scandinavians have been consistently spending their holidays in Cyprus in the last 30 years.
But the majority of visitors have always been from the UK.
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Apart from monitoring the origin of tourists into Cyprus, the figures also show the number of visitors – which have been on the rise since 1986 with occasional bad patches in 1996 and 2006.
Just over 900,000 tourists from various countries had visited Cyprus in 1986 but that figure rose to over three million in 2016.
- 1986. CTO figures show that tourist arrivals for that year were 900,727 – a 10.7% increase when compared to the number of visitors in 1985. Cyprus had earned a total of CY£256.6m from tourism revenue. 39.5% of tourists had arrived between July and September. The tourists were made up of 289,000 Britons (32.1%), 91,500 Lebanese, 87,000 Swedes, 55,000 Germans, 45,000 Norwegians while visitors from Middle East made up around 162,000 (18%).
- 1996. That year had been considered a bad year for tourism due to the depression throughout Europe and the violent clashes in the buffer zone between Greek Cypriots and Turkish nationalists which ultimately ended in the murder of Tasos Isaac. His cousin, Solomos Solomou, was also killed days later after being shot in the head by a Turkish officer while trying to climb a flagpole in order to remove a Turkish flag. A total of 1.95m tourists had arrived in Cyprus that year – 7% less than in 1995 when 2.1m tourists had arrived on the island. Revenue had amounted to CY£780m. A total of 720,000 visitors were from the UK (37%), 235,000 were from Scandinavia (12%), 240,000 were from Germany (12.3%), 88,000 were from Switzerland (4.5%) and 130,000 were from Russia and other ex-Soviet nations (6.7%)
- 2006. Five years earlier in 2001 had seen a record number of arrivals in Cyprus with figures reaching 2.7million. Up until 2016, that year had remained a record in terms of arrivals. But tourism numbers had started to dwindle as of 2002. In 2006, 2.4million tourists had arrived on the island with revenue figures showing around CY£1billion. British tourists amounted to 1,360,136 (56.7%) while German figures had started to dwindle. German visitors had fallen to 152,808 (6.4%) while Russian visitors stood at 114,763 (4.8%) and Swedes 94,028 (3.9%).
- 2016. That year had proven to be a record in terms of arrivals with a total of 3,186,531 tourists visiting the island – an increase of around 700,000 compared to the previous year. Tourism revenue figures had been €2.22bn while revenue figures for 2015 had €1.97bn. A total of 1,157,978 (36.3%) visitors to the island had been British followed by 781,634 (24.5%) visitors from Russia and 160,254 tourists from Greece. The top five visitors also includes Israel with 148,739 (4.7%) and Germany with 124,254 (3.9%).