The tourism market is one of the largest economic sectors in Cyprus and has experienced substantial growth over the last five years, with tourists averaging around 2,315 million per year.
Cyprus’ tourism industry has been honoured with numerous prestigious awards, spanning the sustainable Destinations Global Top 100, an initiative of TravelMole.com, VISION on Sustainable Tourism, Totem Tourism and Green Destination titles bestowed to Limassol and Paphos in December 2014. Cyprus’ famous beaches have been awarded with 53 Blue Flags achieving three records:
• the most Blue Flags per capita in the world
• the most dense concentration of Blue Flag beaches
• the most Blue Flag beaches per coastline.
Overview of the tourism market in Cyprus
Key tourist areas in Cyprus
Cyprus has five main tourist districts, namely, Famagusta, Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca and Nicosia. Each district offers a wide range of tourist products, attracting different types of tourists.
The Famagusta region consists of Ayia Napa, the south east coast of Cyprus and Protaras, the coastal area of Paralimni. It has a wider range of beaches than other cities. Ayia Napa is a reputable party town and prime site for nightlife.
Paphos is a popular coastal town in the southwest of Cyprus. Visitors can enjoy spectacular scenery and some of Cyprus’ finest beaches. Paphos offers ancient historical sites, some classified as world heritage sites by Unesco and an attractive harbour. It is expected that Paphos will be subject to intensified cultural activity, as it has been selected by the EU to be a European Capital of Culture for 2017.
Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus and is situated on the southern coast of the island. It has developed significantly in recent years, emerging as a business hub. Limassol has the largest port in Cyprus while the existence of marinas assists them to attract high wealth tourists.
Larnaca is the third largest city in Cyprus, and is known for its palm-tree seafront. It is home to the country’s primary airport, a seaport and a marina.
Nicosia, is the capital of Cyprus and the main commercial and business centre, with a world famous archaeological museum, the Venetian walls, and Laiki Yitonia which is a labyrinth of traditional streets.
Promotion of tourism in Cyprus has focused primarily on the concept of ‘sun and sea’. This creates a seasonality to tourism which means there is an uneven spread of tourism inflow over the year. The peak season for tourist arrivals in Cyprus is the six month period from May to October. Cyprus has been known as a summer destination and attracting tourists during the winter months remains a challenge.
The government, in an attempt to reduce the tourism seasonality effect, aims to extend the tourism season by two months to cover the shoulder months of December and March. Given that golf resorts have different seasonality patterns since they are preferred in winter, the government announced an incentive scheme aiming at accelerating the construction of golf courses and allowed the development/conversion of ‘Condo Hotels’.
In addition, the luxurious integrated casino resort that will be completed in the near future, following the adoption of a law governing the operation of a casino by the House of Representatives in July, will certainly attract quality tourism, as well as reduce the seasonality effect.
Accommodation in Cyprus consists of the following categories, namely, hotels, hotel apartments, tourist villages, traditional buildings/houses (agrotourism) and other types which include camping sites, guesthouses, organised apartments, and tourist villas.
There were a total of 802 accommodation units in Cyprus as at 30th of June 2015, with an overall bed capacity of 86.110.