Cyprus tourism income up 3.8% in 2010

Tourism revenues in Cyprus rose 3.8 percent in 2010, official data showed on Monday, boosting confidence of an economic recovery in the EU member state.

Revenue for January to December 2010 reached 1.54 billion euros ($2.1 billion) compared with 1.49 billion euros for 2009.

Income from tourism accounts for nearly 12 percent of gross domestic product of the holiday island.

It is the first rise in income from tourism since 2007 when tourism yielded 1.85 billion euros, despite December's severe weather across Europe curtailing arrivals.

In December, tourists spent 40.9 million euros in Cyprus - 4.2 percent less than the 42.7 million euros they brought in to the Cypriot economy in December 2009.

The recession-hit Irish were the biggest spenders at an average 153.2 euros per day, while the Danes were the most frugal, spending just 30.4 euros.

The number of holidaymakers to Cyprus hit a high of 2.69 million in 2001, spending a record 2.17 billion euros.

The government predicts improved tourism income will help the economy to grow by around 1.5 percent in 2011 after an unprecedented year-long recession in 2009.

GDP growth figures for 2010 are expected to be close to 0.8 percent after the economy shrank by 1.7 percent in 2009.

Cyprus is trying to reduce a fiscal deficit that last year was almost double the European Union's permitted ceiling of three percent.

The government has raised taxes and cut spending in an effort to bring the deficit below four percent this year as mandated by Brussels.