Off to Cyprus
I pose the question because Cyprus has become one of the surprises of the year. Visits by us are up 12% over last year and bookings for the winter up an astonishing fifth over 2010. It has always been of enduring appeal to us given past historical links and the lure of warm sunshine ( and hospitality) plus heritage and beaches, food and wine so it has a lot going for it but why has it suddenly attracted so many more of us to go there?
For a start Larnaka and Limassol are undergoing great changes. Larnaka has had a new airport, new golf courses, a set of cultural walks has opened and the ancient city of Kition is being excavated. Limassol is getting a new marina. But the confidence in the appeal to us must be seen in Pafos where 70% of all of the lodgings will remain going for business over winter. I am sure in the past it has been much less than this. And the town has another new golf course to add to the three that are already there.
A few weeks ago, CD-Traveller, covered the results of the EDEN awards. In Cyprus this award was won by Kalopanagiotis. Visited by King Solomon goes the story, the chapels and monasteries, thermal springs and buildings have been restored and will surely be of greater tourist appeal in the future. And Ayia Napa was named, earlier in the year, as the best European beach by TripAdvisor. Third place also went to a Cypriot beach, Protaras. And it has 56 blue flag beaches in all. So there is a lot to see and do in an island that can easily be travelled around. Could all of these things have prompted such an upturn in interest for the island?
Whatever it is, such is the confidence of those connected with tourism that about fifty different organisiations and companies will be coming to London next month to persuade travel agents and tour operators here to heavily promote Cyprus to us. Is it unnecessary since so many of us have rediscovered it?