Recession-hit Cyprus recorded a 15 percent hike in key tourism revenue in March, the first rise in income this year, official data showed on Friday.
Tourism income on the Mediterranean holiday island reached 65 million euros ($71 million) from 56.5 million euros in the same month last year.
This was helped by a 25.7 percent surge in tourist arrivals in March, especially from the island’s main market Britain.
Total revenues for January to March increased 4.9 percent from 118.5 million in 2014 to 124.3 million.
The average daily amount spent by tourists in March was 69.36 euros, while the average length of stay was 9.6 days.
This compares with a lower average daily spending of 69.27 euros in March 2014 on higher average stays of 10.5 days.
Lebanese were the biggest spenders in March at an average 143.03 euros a day, while the Greeks were the most frugal at 43.71 euros.
Last year, Cyprus tourism generated 2.02 billion euros, a 2.8 percent drop from 2013’s 2.08 billion euros. It was the first dip in receipts since 2009.
Following a 10-billion-euro rescue package to save a crumbling economy and insolvent banks in March 2013, Cyprus is expected to return to growth this year after nearly four years of harsh recession.
Although revenue from tourism was down last year, the earnings of 2.08 billion euros in 2013 were the best for a decade.
The number of holidaymakers to Cyprus hit a record high of 2.69 million in 2001, spending a record 2.17 billion euros.
Income from tourism accounts for around 12 percent of Cyprus’s GDP, and is credited for ensuring that Nicosia did not suffer a double-digit recession post-bailout as first feared.