Cypriot tourism: Achieved the best performance among the countries of Southern Europe in 2021

Which countries did Cyprus leave behind?

kypros 2 performance, Europe, Percentages, TOURISM

Cypriot tourism achieved the best performance among the countries of Southern Europe in 2021, surpassing Greece as well in the rate of recovery of losses of 2020 and leaving behind the great powers of European tourism.

Amid a pandemic, Cyprus has succeeded High numbers of arrivals in the autumn months. In fact, the data of the Statistical Service show that the recovery in revenue is even greater, which means that Cyprus has chosen a different mix of visitors, which spends more and chooses to travel alone without buying its trip from a tour operator.

In the period January - September 2021, tourist arrivals amounted to 1.299.392, compared to 512.184 in the corresponding period of 2020, recording an increase of 153,7% and a decrease of 60,1% compared to the period January - September 2019 (3.260.546. XNUMX arrivals).

In the period January - September 2021, revenues from tourism are estimated at € 1.045,2 million compared to € 298,9 million in the corresponding period of 2020, recording an increase of 249,7% and a decrease of 53,2% compared to in the period January - September 2019 (€ 2.234,0 million).

The performance of the travel and tourism sector in Southern Europe is analyzed in a note by the Canadian rating agency DBRS Morningstar. The general picture is that after a difficult year, in 2021 international tourism in Southern Europe showed signs of recovery.

Analyzing the data, DBRS Morningstar finds:

Travel and tourism in Southern Europe showed encouraging signs of recovery in the summer of 2021. Despite the slow start of the summer holiday season, the spread of vaccination, harmonization of travel rules in Europe and the relatively good epidemiological situation in the interior and main markets origin of tourists, led to a longer period of the period and helped the sector recover from the low levels of 2020.

Incoming tourism recovered faster in Greece and Cyprus this year, especially at the end of the summer, compared to Spain, Portugal and Malta.

The easing of travel restrictions at the end of May 2021 and the resumption of unnecessary travel marked the beginning of the tourist season in Europe. With still low vaccination rates in early June 2021, below 30% in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal and around 40% in Malta, Southern European countries have begun to abolish quarantine and testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, in an effort to facilitate the smooth resumption of travel and tourism. The introduction of the digital certificate Covid-19 July 2021, which harmonized free movement and travel within EU countries, also provided clarity and helped restore travelers' confidence.

-Despite the travel restrictions for most of the first half of this year, international arrivals from January to September 2021 have already exceeded arrivals for the entire year 2020 in Cyprus, Greece and Spain. Cyprus and Greece have recorded a strong recovery of 46% of 2019 levels by October for Cyprus and 43% for Greece by September. Data for Spain, Malta and Portugal show a recovery of around 30% of 2019 levels from January to September. The arrivals of foreigners in Italy from January to August have reached 30%, compared to the same period of 2019.

The Greek and Cypriot tourism markets performed strongly during the summer. In the case of Greece, arrivals from Germany, one of the main markets of origin, from July to September reached 95% of the level of 2019, while arrivals from France marginally exceeded the arrivals of 2019. Its tourist market Cyprus has benefited significantly this year from the return of the Russian market, which was the second largest market in 2019.

The late start of the season, the higher percentage of vaccinated population and the relatively good epidemiological situation, both in the interior and in the main markets of tourist origin during the summer months, resulted in the steady recovery of the tourism sector in July, August and September. .

Data on air transport in the EU show a significant improvement in the countries of Southern Europe compared to last year, also indicating a strong recovery in October. Commercial flights in Greece showed an extremely strong recovery, with only 7% below the levels of 2019 in August and almost at the levels of October 2019. The extension of the period until October is likely to offset part of the losses due to the late start of summer period this year. {Bullet}

Domestic tourism

So far this year, domestic tourism has proven resilient, making up for some of the sector's losses, especially in countries such as Italy and Spain where domestic tourism accounts for high shares of the overall tourism market. From January to September this year, overnight stays in Spain and Portugal accounted for about 60% of total overnight stays and 67% in Italy by August, while in Malta they increased to 18% in 2021, from 4% in 2019. January - August XNUMX.

In addition to the low number of international arrivals during this period, the increased shares of domestic tourism also reflect safety concerns and differing perceptions of risk among tourists.

Tourism and development

Revenue from tourism is a major source of income for the economies of southern Europe, proving that the recovery of their economies is closely linked to the recovery of tourism.

Given their heavy reliance on tourism-related activities and the relatively good performance of the sector this year, countries such as Cyprus and Greece are likely to see their economies recover strongly in 2021, recovering some of the lost ground from 2020, comments the Canadian house.

However, in its recent analysis of the Cypriot economy, the house does not link 100% the recovery of Cyprus with the recovery of tourism.

"Despite the importance of tourism, the Cypriot economy has proven to be quite resilient to the shock of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), utilizing the budgetary margin for support measures. "If Cyprus had not made the ambitious adjustment after the global financial crisis, the situation could now be quite different.", the house reports.

"Cyprus is recovering faster than expected and the conditions are being created for sustainable development in the medium term, albeit subject to pandemic developments and risks to the implementation of EU funds", commented Javier Rouillet, Vice President of DBRS Morningstar.

The 2022

DBRS Morningstar expects the tourism sector to continue its recovery in 2022, with the epidemiological situation not only in Europe but also globally playing an important role.

The emergence of the "Omicron" variant has caused concern and clearly indicates that the virus will continue to pose a risk to international tourism, unless a high rate of effective vaccination is achieved worldwide.

Perceptions of the threat of wider travel restrictions between EU and third country markets could halt the recovery for the rest of the year, but this is mitigated by the fact that the majority of tourist flows are intra-European.

For the future, tourism will remain the key to the economies of Southern Europe, which will need to work towards sustainable tourism to further enhance their resilience. At the same time, it is important to push for greater overall diversification of their respective economies with the development of other industries and the development of new ones.

The "Omicron" variant

The appearance of the "Omicron" variant and the recent increase in cases Covid-19 across Europe, pose challenges and uncertainties for tourism in the coming holiday season. DBRS Morningstar notes that there are risks to the continued recovery of the tourism sector, especially in countries with lower vaccination rates, such as Greece and Cyprus. High vaccination rates in Spain, Malta and Portugal could mitigate this risk.

The house notes that countries with high vaccination rates, such as Spain, Malta and Portugal, are less likely to re-impose severely restrictive measures domestically, preventing the sector from closing further for the rest of the year.