Cyprus tourism revenue grows 53% in April

Cyprus's tourism income spiked 53.5 percent in April, compared to the same month last year, raising hopes of a bumper summer for the Mediterranean holiday island, official figures showed on Friday.

Revenue from the key tourism sector reached 136.7 million euros in April against 89 million euros for the same period of 2010, the statistical service said.

For the first four months ending in April there was a revenue increase of 23.7 percent reaching 269.8 million euros against 218.2 million euros in the same period a year ago.

More importantly, tourism income for the first four months is up 7.5 percent on 2008 levels.

Income from tourism accounts for 12 percent of Cyprus's gross domestic product.

The average daily amount spent by tourists in April was 73.80 euros and the average stay was 9.3 days.

Israelis were the biggest spenders at an average 138.2 euros a day, while the recession-hit Irish were the most frugal, spending just 56.60 euros.

Cyprus tourism revenue in 2010 improved 3.8 percent on a year earlier, boosting confidence the key sector can consolidate the island's fledgling economic recovery.

Revenue for 2010 reached 1.54 billion euros compared with 1.49 billion for 2009.

It dropped in 2009 from 1.79 billion euros in 2008 and 1.85 billion in 2007.

Holidaymakers to Cyprus hit a high of 2.69 million in 2001 spending a record 2.17 billion euros.

Banking on improved tourism income, the government predicts the economy will grow by around 1.5 percent in 2011 after kicking off an unprecedented year-long recession in 2009.

GDP growth last year reached an unexpected one percent after the economy reversed 1.7%.

Cyprus is on an austerity drive to reduce a fiscal deficit that was almost double the EU's permitted ceiling of three percent last year.

The government has raised taxes and cut spending in an effort to bring the deficit below 4% this year as demanded by Brussels.

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