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Cyprus to offer ‘offbeat’ options to tourists

11 May, 2007

After their success in agro-tourism, Cyprus is now promoting rural tourism, besides improving the existing medical, sporting and conference facilities.

Cyprus, the island nation in the Mediterranean, offers tourists an array of ‘offbeat’ options in addition to the conventional sun, sea and sand destinations, according to the Cyprus Tourism Organization.

With a view to encouraging sustainable tourism development, the Cyprus Tourism Organization initially promoted agro-tourism, sports tourism as well as round-the-year visits.

Now, Cyprus has launched a major rural tourism initiative, supported by the European Union (EU), to promote the island’s authentic culture and countryside. It has obtained euros 28 million by way of EU structural funds to invest in the infrastructure and projects to support the sustainable development of rural areas.

The multi-faceted program includes advertising campaigns in specialist consumer titles, exhibiting at agricultural consumer shows, educational trips on travel business, and the production of a dedicated rural tourism guide.

A new logo with the strap line Rural Cyprus – Feeling the Experience has been created to support the campaign. The logo incorporates a jug, and a sheaf of wheat, symbolizing the hospitality and fertility of Cyprus.

Cyprus gained eminence as a sporting destination – especially a venue for sports camps – in the run-up to the Athens Olympics. The island’s mild winter climate makes it an ideal destination for winter training camps for teams from northern Europe.

The country is planning to triple conference tourism by 2010. According to Phoebe Katsouri, director general of Cyprus Tourism Organization, over 500 conferences were held in the country in 2006, involving about 37,000 participants.

The Cyprus Tourism Organization will open a Convention Bureau and also set up a specialized website to promote conferences, besides offering financial incentives. It is also focusing on religious, cultural and adventure tourism.

The country has already made its mark as a favored destination for health tourism. According to Antonis Michaelides, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Cyprus – located at the crossroads of the three continents – offers the ideal climate both for treatment and recuperation and a high standard of services for wellness tourists at cost-effective rates.

The Dubai Financial Group has been among those expressing interest in investing in the island’s health tourism sector.

Though Cyprus has witnessed a slight fall in the number of visitors to the island owing to higher costs and increasing competition from other Mediterranean destinations, its revenue from tourism has gone up by 2.3%.



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