With Cyprus being named the second fastest-growing travel destination in Europe by the European Travel Commission (ETC), Travel Agent breaks down the latest travel news from the country.
The island of Cyprus and its capital city Nicosia is divided between Turkey to the north the Republic of Cyprus to the south. The destination is known for its beaches and wine regions. Additionally, the region of Paphos is home to archaeological sites relating to the cult of Aphrodite, including tombs, mosaic-tiled villas and palace ruins.
Cyprus’ tourism market grew a total of 26 percent over the last year. We spoke with a Tourism Officer at the Cyprus Tourism Organisation who shared some information on what the board has observed regarding travel to the island throughout 2016 and into 2017:
“Cyprus has returned to health having experienced a remarkable rebound, mainly achieved on the basis of resilience and strong performance of key industries in Cyprus. It has broken free from the crisis, the economy is growing month by month, its reputation is enhanced, unemployment is falling, the island prepares for shipping revival, infrastructure is undergoing major reform and new developments are underway (such a new marinas and an all-inclusive five-star Casino resort which are set to open new markets for niche tourism), tourism is booming and the popular holiday hotspot of Paphos is the the 2017 European Capital of Culture.”
Cyprus Tourism Organisation went on to note that the United Kingdom and Russia constitute the main sources of tourism for Cyprus, with the latest market share reaching 37.1 percent and 16.4 percent respectively, followed by Germany and Israel, comprising 8.3 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, of total arrivals. Looking forward, Cyprus’ tourism market is headed for another bumper year, with current data and trends suggesting arrivals will top the record 3.2 million visitors in 2016.
With the amount of growth that the country has recently seen, several airlines and tour operators are enhancing their previous offerings, or adding new ones to attract more visitors.
Jet2, a low-cost airlines based at Leeds Bradford Airport, England, launched three new weekly flights between London Stansted and Larnaka, as well as twice-weekly flights to Paphos. Additionally, the airline announced major additional flights set for next year. From May 2, 2018, service to Larnaka from London Stansted will increase to four weekly flights and from May 29 to five weekly. Also, from February 7, 2018, flights from London Stansted to Paphos will increase to three times weekly and again to four times weekly service from May 7, 2018.
German low-cost airline Eurowings has also announced it will be offering increased services to Cyprus for the summer 2017 season. Flights between Vienna and Paphos will offer service once a week on Mondays beginning March 27, 2017.
Hotels in Cyprus are also making an effort to attract more visitors to the island.
Almyra Hotel, a member of Design Hotels located in Paphos, recently updated the property’s gardens with a new infinity pool and terraces. The pool overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and Paphos Castle. Meanwhile four new terraces for sunbathing and a shaded pergola, a covered lounge area and a fire pit are also new. Guests can also book an adjoining Terrace Sea View Room, allowing for an expanded terrace just steps from the new pool.
We spoke with Radu Stefan Mitroi, hotel manager of Almyra, about the guests who typically visit and stay at the hotel.
“Regarding the type of visitors you could expect at the Almyra varies as we cater to different needs which generates a few types of guests,” he told us. “We are very family oriented, so families with young children (kids club, activities etc.), culture and art lovers, LGBT couples, young couples and sport – usually high end golf enthusiastic small groups.” Mitroi went on to mention that the hotel’s major markets by nationality are UK, Germany, Russia, Israel and Italy.
Other amenities offered at Almyra include seven restaurants serving a range of cuisines, two bars, a range of accommodation styles including family rooms, suites, and rooms affording views of the sea and terrace gardens. The hotel also offers multiple childcare options for families, several spa packages at the Almyra Spa, five freshwater swimming pools in addition to the new installation, and a range of sports including cycling, swimming clinics, diving and watersports.
Also in Cyprus hotel news, Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Limassol is slated to open March 26, 2018. Currently undergoing construction at a cost of $78.3 million, upon completion Parklane will have 222 premium guestrooms in a range of styles, as well as 52 suites, most with an individual private pool facility.
We spoke with Kratinos Socratous, director of sales and marketing at Parklane, who shared some information about what guests can expect upon the property’s debut and the focus of the hotel.
“Our target market segments include the families, couples, corporate, MICE, and special interests,” said Socratous. “Our primary target feeder markets by geographical location include the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, France, Belgium, Russia, and the Middle East.”
Once open, Parklane will have seven restaurants, four bars and over 3,000 square feet of space at the Kalloni Spa, with 12 treatment rooms and three suites, two of which will have a Russian Banya facility. The resort also hopes to attract younger visitors with over 3,000 square feet of children’s facilities. The space will have a two-story themed castle, a kids pool with a multi-activity pirate’s ship and water slide, a kid’s buffet restaurant and an outdoor playground. The “Princess & The Pirate Kids’ Park” will have trained staff who will organize activities and games for children from three to 12 years old as well as a crèche facility which is available for babies up to three years old.
For teenagers, there will be a range of sport facilities, including a basketball court, a mini-football pitch, pool tables, table tennis, archery, games room, disco and a bowling center with a café lounge.
Socratous also told Travel Agent the resort will have a variety meeting spaces. “The Parklane Diamond Room is a 1,000 square meter (10,763 square feet) pillar free multifunction facility with a built-in theatrical stage. Other meeting facilities include the 500 square meter (5,381 square feet) Park Room, the Pine, Citrus, Rose, Jasmine, and Oval Rooms, most of which can be divided into more sections.”
Tour operators are also benefitting from the steady growth of Cyprus’ tourism market, with many creating new itineraries to keep up with the diversity of travelers.
Ace Cultural Tours, based out of the UK, has been designing expert-led tours since 1958. The company specializes in creating day trips, full tours, river cruise experiences, nature tours and holiday excursions. The operator announced it will be offering a new “Ancient Cyprus” itinerary from October 12 through October 22, 2017. Led by tour director Philip Kenrick, guests will cross the border between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to examine the island’s history of interaction between the cultures of Europe and the Middle East. Visitors will stop at the mountaintop Saint Hilarion Castle, Bellapais Abbey, and the ancient site of Salamis.
The itinerary also includes a lecture: “Cyprus in Geography and History”, before heading to Paphos’ Archaeological Park to view Roman mosaics, the District Archaeological Museum and church of Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa and Pillar of St Paul. Other activities will include an afternoon in Famagusta for a walking tour of the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas and other ruined medieval churches, as well as a hike into the Troodos Mountains to view nature and several medieval churches on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.