Petra tou Romiou ("Rock of the Greek") where legend says that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, emerged from the sea
Avakas Gorge in Akamas
Protaras beach in summer
The sandy beaches are often used as habitats for green turtles

Tourism in Cyprus occupies a dominant position in the country's economy,[1][2] and has significantly impacted its culture and multicultural development throughout the years.[3][4] In 2006, the tourism industry made up 10.7% of the country's GDP and the total employment in the tourism industry was estimated at 113,000 jobs.[5] With a usual minimum of around 4 million tourist arrivals per year,[6] it is the 40th most popular destination in the world[7][8] and the 6th most popular per capita of local population.[9] Cyprus has been a full member of the World Tourism Organization since 1975.[10]


Varosha was once one of the most popular destinations in the world, frequented by Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, until the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in 1974. It is now abandoned and the majority of it is guarded by armed troops.[11]

Arrivals by country

The Rock of the Greek (background) with the Saracen Rock in the foreground
Ayia Thekla beach

The majority of tourist arrivals are from elsewhere in Europe. Over 80% of visitors come from Northern, Western, and Eastern Europe, with British tourists remaining the most numerous. Several factors contribute to this, including widely spoken English, as well as the history of British colonialism and the presence of British military bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The downturn in the British economy in the late 2000s was reflected by a drop in tourist arrivals, highlighting the over-reliance of Cyprus' tourist industry on one market. In 2009, efforts were underway to boost arrivals from other countries.[12] In line with contemporary geopolitical developments, Russian tourists became the second largest group in terms of arrivals; this began in the late 2000s and has been rapidly increasing ever since.[13][14][15]

The total number of tourists in Cyprus for the 2018 season was 3.93 million. Most visitors arriving on a short-term basis were from the following countries:[16]

Rank Country 2016 2017 2018
1  United Kingdom 1,157,978 Increase 1,253,839 Increase 1,327,805
2  Russia 781,634 Increase 824,494 Decrease 783,631
3  Israel 148,739 Increase 261,966 Decrease 232,561
4  Germany 124,030 Increase 188,826 Increase 189,200
5  Greece 160,254 Increase 169,712 Increase 186,370
6  Sweden 115,019 Increase 136,725 Increase 153,769
7  Poland 42,683 Increase 56,665 Increase 89,508
8   Switzerland (including  Liechtenstein) 46,602 Increase 57,540 Increase 74,216
9  Ukraine 62,292 Decrease 48,190 Increase 69,619
10  Romania 28,741 Increase 49,304 Increase 66,969


According to the World Economic Forum's 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Cyprus' tourism industry ranks 29th in the world in terms of overall competitiveness. In terms of Tourism Infrastructure, in relation to the tourism industry Cyprus ranks 1st in the world.[17] With some of the most popular[18] and cleanest beaches in Europe,[19] much of the tourist industry relies on "sea sun and sand" to attract tourists.[20] This reflects in the seasonal distribution of tourist arrivals with a disproportionate number arriving during the summer months.[21] Whereas most eastern resorts like Protaras and Ayia Napa attracts the most of the island tourists during March to November, the west of the island remains open to tourism with the promotion of Cypriot history culture and specialized sports such as golf and climbing has a wider distribution.[citation needed]


The World Travel and Tourism Council 2016 report on the island outlines that the total investment in the Travel & Tourism industry in 2015 was EUR273.7mn, or 14.0% of the total investments. It projects a rise by 5.3% in 2016 and 2.9% pa over the next ten years to EUR384.6mn in 2026.[22]

Blue Flags

According to the latest KPMG report, Cyprus has the most dense concentration of Blue Flag beaches of which the most at the eastern part, the most Blue Flag beaches per coastline and the most Blue Flags per capita in the world.[23]

Language & service

English is the universal language since the island has an international outlook.[24] Russian is also spoken within the tourist industry.[25] Greek and Turkish remain the main languages spoken by the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities respectively.[26]

Personnel & education

In 2012, Eurostat reported that Cyprus is the most educated country in Europe after Ireland since 49.9% of Cyprus's residents have degrees.[27] In 2013, only three other EU Member States invested more public funds in education than Cyprus, as measured by the share of GDP (6.5% compared to a 5.0% EU average).[28]

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO)

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation, usually abbreviated to CTO, and known as KOT in Greek, was a semi-governmental organisation charged with overseeing the industry practices and promoting the island as a tourism destination abroad. In 2007 the CTO spent a reported €20 million on promotion.[29] In 2019 the CTO was replaced by a government ministry, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, which took over the assets and responsibilities of the CTO.[30]

See also


  1. ^ "Cyprus Travel & Tourism - Climbing to new heights". Accenture. World Travel and Tourism Council. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 12, 2012. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
  2. ^ "Cyprus Profile: Cruising to Growth". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  3. ^ Ayres, Ron (2000-01-01). "Tourism as a passport to development in small states: reflections on Cyprus". International Journal of Social Economics. 27 (2): 114–133. doi:10.1108/03068290010308992. ISSN 0306-8293.
  4. ^ "Opening the vault of tourism in Cyprus" (PDF). PWC Cyprus Team. July 2013.
  5. ^ "Cyprus – Tourism – Asppen Overseas". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  6. ^ "Historic number of tourist arrivals in 2018 with 3.93m visitors". 2019-01-17.
  7. ^ "Moody's: Cypriot banks benefit from strong tourism in 2016". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  8. ^ Christou, Jean. "CTO eyes nearly three million tourists in 2016 | Cyprus Mail". Cyprus mail. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  9. ^ "Economy Statistics - Tourist arrivals (per capita) (most recent) by country". Nationmaster. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  10. ^ "UNWTO member states". World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Archived from the original on 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
  11. ^ shalw (2020-07-31). "The abandoned town in Cyprus where celebrities used to frolic". Sound Health and Lasting Wealth. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  12. ^ "Cyprus taps new markets amid decline in tourist arrivals". Xinhua. March 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
  13. ^ "SigmaLive: Russian tourism: Cyprus and Greece in top choices". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  14. ^ "Russian Tourism: Increase in Demand for Holidays in Cyprus and Greece". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  15. ^ "Why do Russians choose Cyprus? | Cyprus Inorm | Cyprus inform". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  16. ^ "Statistical Service - Services - Tourism - Key Figures". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  17. ^ "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index". World Economic Forum. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
  18. ^ "Revealed: Europe's best beach getaways". The Independent. London. 2011-04-05.
  19. ^ "EU bathing water continues to improve, says report". BBC News. 2013-05-21.
  20. ^ Habegger, Larry (2007-06-10). "World Watch - European Clean Beaches". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 9, 2022. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  21. ^ "Cyprus Tourism GP Citizenship". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  22. ^ "World Travel and Tourism Council: Travel & Tourism - Economic Impact 2016 Cyprus. Documents download module". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  23. ^ "Insights - KPMG Cyprus". KPMG. 2020-11-04. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  24. ^ "Cyprus: Important Phrases - Tripadvisor". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  25. ^ "The Cypriot language | Cyprus Inorm | Cyprus inform". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  26. ^ Hadjioannou, Xenia; Tsiplakou, Stavroula; Kappler, with a contribution by Matthias (2011-11-01). "Language policy and language planning in Cyprus". Current Issues in Language Planning. 12 (4): 503–569. doi:10.1080/14664208.2011.629113. hdl:10278/29371. ISSN 1466-4208. S2CID 143966308.
  27. ^ "Ireland the most educated country in EU, says Eurostat". University World News. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  28. ^ "Education and Training". Education and Training - European Commission. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  29. ^ "Cyprus to spend a mere EUR 20 mln to promote tourism in 2008". Financial Mirror. 2007-08-17. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
  30. ^ "how many tourists visited cyprus in 2019". Retrieved 2020-11-09.