Nicosia expects rise in tourism arrivals

The number of tourists coming to Cyprus will probably rise in 2012, helped by higher visitor numbers from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia, Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias said on Thursday.

?Tourism prospects in 2012 continue to be positive and a marginal increase in arrivals is expected,? Kazamias said at a conference in Nicosia, according to an e-mailed transcript of his speech.

In 2011, ?Cyprus had an especially good year both in terms of arrivals and revenue.? Tourist arrivals rose 10 percent in 2011 to 2.39 million, while revenue in the 11 months through November was up 13 percent to 1.7 billion euros, according to two separate statements on the Cyprus Statistical Service?s website.

Arrivals from Russia increased by almost 50 percent in 2011, which was ?significant? for the eastern Mediterranean island, Kazamias said.

The government plans to promote development of golf courses and marinas to boost growth prospects for the industry, he said.

Tourism accounted for 18 percent of gross domestic product and almost one in five jobs in 2011, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council. [Bloomberg]