Vassilis Theocharides, director – Middle East, Cyprus Tourism Organisation reveals why the Middle East market is increasingly becoming a key market for Cyprus.
The presence of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation in the Middle East has been since 2005, with the popularity of Cyprus growing year-on-year. We cover a large region from Egypt to Iran and naturally every market has their own specific needs or what we call it in the industry ‘travel triggers’.
We have some statistics that show us the recent trends from the leading source markets which are Lebanon and the UAE. Lebanese are fond of Larnaka, this comes from the high number of civil weddings taking place in the coastal city followed by Limassol and Pafos. The majority prefer to stay in four- and five-star hotels and their average length of stay is five days with the majority booking their holidays by themselves, therefore it is a known and popular destination.
The UAE, which is diverse, shows that the most popular destination for them is Limassol which can be also correlated to the high number of MICE trips followed by Pafos who has many VFR (visiting friends and relatives) tourists. The majority of UAE travellers choose five-star hotels and their average length of stay is seven days.
The results have shown a strong increase from the Middle East until August 2013 with the UAE showing a 47 per cent increase and Lebanon a one per cent increase compared to 2012. Overall we have had a seven per cent increase year-on-year since 2005.