The travel and tourism industry is the largest commercial sector of Cyprus, contributing 22.3% of the country’s GDP in 2017. The number of tourist arrivals in 2017 reached 3,652,073, corresponding to an increase of 14.6% from 2016. Europe is the traditional tourist market for Cyprus, with visitors from European countries constituting 87.5% of the total tourist arrivals in 2017, while visitors from the European Union countries making up 59.7%. The United Kingdom is the most important source of tourism to the island and its share was 34.3% of the total tourist traffic in 2017, followed by Russia with 22.6%, Israel with 7.1%, Germany with 5.2%, and Greece with 4.6%. Τhe total revenue from tourism during this period was estimated at €2,639.1 million compared to €2,363.4 million in 2016, recording an increase of 11.7%. The majority of tourists stated to have stayed in coastal areas of the island, such as Pafos and Polis, Ayia Napa, Paralimni, Larnaka, and Lemesos.
Star hotels are the most common type of tourist accommodation in Cyprus, with a total capacity of 55,202 beds in 231 hotels by the end of 2017 (51,270 beds in 192 hotels situated in the coastal areas of Lemesos, Larnaka, Ammochostos and Pafos). Apart from hotels, there are also other establishments, including hotel apartments and tourist villages, tourist villas, traditional buildings, guesthouses and campsites. In total, coastal areas host 676 accommodation establishments with 80,912 beds. The total number of arrivals during 2017 in these establishments amounted to 2,622,103 over 16,405,027 guest nights.
In 2017, around 85,000 people were employed in the travel and tourism sector, accounting for 22.7% of the total workforce of the island. This figure includes jobs directly supporting the sector, such as in hotels, travel agents, airlines, restaurants and leisure activities, as well as jobs indirectly supported by the industry (in retail trade, transportation services and cultural and sports services, among others).
Cypriot beaches are ranked as some of the best in Europe, having excellent cleanliness, water quality and safety, as well as eco-initiatives. For this reason, the island has been awarded a total of 57 Blue Flags, meaning Cyprus currently possesses the highest number of Blue Flag beaches per capita and the most Blue Flag Beaches per 100 km coastline in the world.
Aquaculture in Cyprus constitutes an important component of its primary agricultural production, showing impressive growth rates and high-quality export products. As the global production of the capture fisheries sector decreases in the last twenty years and the demand for fishery products continues to grow, the contribution of aquaculture to the fishery products consumed worldwide each year has increased from about 10% in the ‘70s to around 50% in 2016.
In Cyprus there are in operation (licensed) nine marine open sea cage farms culturing mainly European seabass and gilthead seabream, three marine hatcheries, one land-based shrimp hatchery/farm and seven small trout farms. Apart from the aforementioned private fish production units operating in Cyprus, there are also two government operating aquaculture research stations, one for marine species and the other for freshwater species.
The main marine species commercially cultured are the gilthead seabream (Sparusaurata) and European seabass (Dicentrachuslabrax). The total production of seabream and seabass is 66% and 33%, respectively.
The total aquaculture production in 2016 reached 6,625 tonnes of table size fish including 25 tonnes of shrimp and 40 tonnes of trout. In addition, 33.64 million marine fish fry were produced. The total value of aquaculture products in 2016 reached EUR 42.21 million.
The direct employment in the aquaculture sector is 417 persons; however a greater number of people are employed in aquaculture related jobs.
All ports of the island are under the authority of the Cyprus Ports Authority, which is responsible for their management, operation and development. The ports of Cyprus are Lemesos, Larnaka, Vassiliko, Ammochostos, Kyrenia and Karavostasi. Ammochostos, Kyrenia and Karavostasi are in the occupied areas and are therefore closed to international merchant shipping. The entry and exit of ships from these ports is considered illegal.
Maritime traffic is served by a fully refurbished port system that includes the multi-purpose harbors of Lemesos and Larnaka, the industrial port of Vasilikos and the three specialized oil terminals of Larnaka, Moni and Dhekelia. Approximately 70 shipping lines include Cyprus on regular services. In total, 5,300 vessels from the five continents, representing 20.5 million gross tonnage, are docked in Cypriot ports each year. The ports of Lemesos and Larnaka are the main sea gates of the island handling more than 4 million tonnes of goods transported by sea. The Cyprus Port Authority and the private sector provide port services in these ports.
Cyprus has over the years become one of the largest and widely known shipping centres in the world, comprising both ship owning and ship management companies. Several of the ship management companies which operate on the island rank among the largest of their kind in the world and it is estimated that they manage about 20% of the world’s third party managed fleet.
The Cyprus Registry has shown phenomenal growth in the last thirty years. In the early eighties, Cyprus ranked thirty-second on the list of leading maritime nations. It now ranks tenth in the world with a merchant fleet exceeding 20 million gross tons. Also, the Cypriot merchant fleet ranks third in the European Union with a percentage of about 11% of the total fleet of the 27 EU Member States.
Cyprus is an island with no indigenous hydrocarbon energy sources. This means that its power generation system operates in isolation and totally relies on imported fuels for electricity generation. Currently, the primary imported fuel used in electricity generation is heavy fuel oil and gasoil. Cyprus power generation system consists of three thermal power stations with a total installed capacity of 1480 MWe. Dhekelia power station is located on the southeast coast of Cyprus, to the east of Larnaka and consists of 6 x 60 MWe steam turbines and two 50 MWe internal combustion engines blocks. Vasilikos power station is the most recent power station located on the south coast between Lemesos and Larnaka and consists of 3 x 130 MWe steam turbines, 2 x 220MWe combined cycle technology units and a 38 MWe gas turbine. Moni power station, which is used as backup, is located on the south coast of Cyprus, to the east of Lemesos and consists of 4×37.5 MWe gas turbines.
With regards to energy generation from renewable resources, there are 5 wind parks in operation with total installed capacity of 147 MWe and licenses for the construction of a further 18 MWe capacity wind parks have been given. According to the recent Cyprus RES National Plan, the total installed capacity of wind parks is expected to be 300 MWe by 2020. Also, there are 14 biomass units in operation with total installed capacity of 9.7 MWe. According to the recent Cyprus RES National Plan, the total installed capacity of biomass units is expected to be 17 MWe by 2020.
Marine renewable energy technologies, such as hydropower, geothermal, ocean and wave energy, are currently under assessment and, as such, do not contribute to the energy system of Cyprus.
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