Cypriot tourism revenues fell 3.5 percent in the island’s key holiday sector during 2008, official figures showed on Wednesday.
Revenues weakened to 1.79 billion euros (2.38 billion dollars), from 1.85 billion euros in 2007.
However, in December alone, revenues edged forward 0.4 percent to 51.6 million euros from 51.4 million a year earlier.
The average daily spending by tourists was about 64 euros in December, and the average stay was 11 days.
The biggest spenders were Israeli visitors, splashing out 231 euros a day, while Swedes were the most frugal spending only 21.5 euros a day on average.
The disappointing revenue figures are coupled with a 0.5 percent decrease in tourist arrivals in 2008 to 2.40 million people from 2.41 million in 2007.
It was only the fourth decline in visitor numbers since 1996 and the outlook for 2009 is worse, with hotel bookings said to be 25 percent down for the coming summer.
Bumper spending by holidaymakers helped the Mediterranean resort island achieve GDP growth of 4.4 percent in 2007.
The finance ministry has trimmed its GDP growth projections to 3.7 percent for 2008 and down to 2.1 percent for this year due to concerns that the global financial crisis will trigger lower tourism revenues.
The lion’s share of visitors holidaying on Cyprus come from fellow European Union countries, especially from recession-hit Britain and Germany.
Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said on Wednesday the government was mulling an additional 40-million-euro stimulus package for the struggling tourism and construction sectors.
A 52-million-euro injection for the two sectors was announced in November but the economy is slowing faster than predicted. EU Commission estimates for the islands GDP growth in 2009 is one percent lower than the government’s forecast.
Tourism contributes nearly 15 percent to Cyprus’s GDP (AFP)
This information is taken from naharnet.com