Nicosia (AFP) - Bailed-out Cyprus, seen as a safe destination in a region dogged by terror attacks, set a record for the number of tourist arrivals during the month of June, officials said Monday.
With the Mediterranean holiday island's economy on an upward curve, state-run Cyprus Tourism Organisation said that 413,114 tourists arrived last month.
"It is the best June in terms of arrivals in the history of Cyprus tourism. Moreover, these are the second best monthly figures ever after July 2015 (with 414,527 arrivals)," CTO said in a statement.
It said Cyprus had also set other records this year, with the best first six-month performance ever recorded, "while for the first time in tourism history, arrivals during the quarter April-June surpassed the one million mark".
In June, there was a 22.6-percent hike in tourist arrivals compared to the same month in 2015.
Tourists from Britain –- the island’s largest holiday market -– increased 21.1 percent to 148,812, while the second largest market, Russia, recorded a jump of 41.6 percent (127,244).
Cyprus tourist arrivals hit a 14-year high in 2015 reaching 2.65 million, and this year industry officials are expecting an even bigger influx with an estimated three million arrivals for 2016.
The island, a Mediterranean neighbour of unrest-hit Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, recorded a 4.4-percent hike in key tourism revenue in 2015, the sector's best earnings since 2001.
Following a 10-billion-euro ($13 billion at the time) international rescue package to save a crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013, Cyprus returned to growth in 2015 after nearly four years of harsh recession.
Cyprus exited its bailout programme in March garnering praise from international lenders for its turnaround.
Income from tourism accounts for around 12 percent of the EU state's GDP and is credited for ensuring that Nicosia did not suffer a double-digit recession post-bailout as initially feared.
The official tourism figures do not include numbers for the breakaway north of Cyprus, which has been divided into Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot sectors since 1974.