Cyprus expects a record number of tourists to arrive in 2017


A Cyprus tourism official says the eastern Mediterranean island expects to hit another record number of tourists this year, with visits expected to increase 5 percent over last year.

Cyprus Tourism Organization Chairman Angelos Loizou says that’s on top of a record-setting 2016, which saw almost 3.2 million holidaymakers arrive. He told AP on Thursday that the tourism industry contributes more than 20 percent of the country’s 17.6 billion-euro ($18.5 billion) economy.

Loizou credits a complete overhaul three years ago of how Cyprus markets its tourism as the primary reason for the boost after the island lost potential tourists to nearby markets such as Turkey, Egypt and Morocco.

He said the tourism industry was vital to helping steer a near-bankrupt Cyprus out of a 2013 international bailout program. [AP]