Cyprus experienced a double digit growth in visitors for 2017. According to the Statistical Service of the Ministry of Finance, international visitors to Cyprus in 2017 increased by 14.6 per cent year-on-year. Arrivals from the GCC grew by 21.3 per cent, with Saudi Arabia contributing the largest growth at 48.4 per cent, followed by the UAE at 19.6 per cent.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. As a fully-fledged member of the European Union (EU), Cyprus is the closest European destination for GCC travellers.
The coastal destination is readying to draw more tourists from the Middle East with a host of new hotels, renovation completions and the expansion of tourism offerings across the island.
The emphasis is, of course, on its most popular coastal cities and destinations. Larnaca, celebrated as the longest continually inhabited region of Cyprus and gateway from the Middle East; neighbouring Limassol, the island’s second largest urban area after its capital Nicosia; and the famed beach-front resort area of Ayia Napa will boast a wealth of new accommodations and attractions during the course of this year, adding further appeal for an island escape.
The upcoming developments and recent archaeological finds across the island, will help entice greater visitors this year and beyond, says Cyprus Tourism Organisation, which is responsible for organising and promoting tourism within Cyprus.
The upcoming hospitality projects include:
• Columbia Beach Resort: Following intensive renovations that spanned almost 12 months, the luxurious Columbia Beach Resort, nestled along Pissouri Bay has reopened its doors. The five-star resort gboasts 169 artfully appointed suites, an award-winning spa, a host of 12 restaurants and bars. An array of actitivies incuding watersports, tennis, golf and cooking lessons are offered to guests.
• Parklane Cyprus: Parklane Resort & Spa Limassol – formerly Le Meridien – was set to open on March 26 following renovations. The resort has 274 guest rooms including 52 suites. It is a perfect seaside getaway.
• Radisson Blu Hotels: Cyprus’ first Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence is set to open in an area close to Larnaca port. The 12-storey hotel, with a total of 106 rooms, is expected to be completed before the beginning of the summer 2018 season. There are also plans for a second Radisson Blu, which would be the island’s first airport hotel and conference centre, to open in 2019.
• Aphrodite Hills Resort: This resort has attained the highest standard recognition in golf, the PGA National, Cyprus. The world-class golf course is currently undergoing a major renovation.
• Amara Hotels & Resorts: Amara Cyprus, a hotel masterpiece combining Timeless elegance with indulgent opulence is poised to make its grand debut in 2018. The ultra-deluxe, five-star, Amara with 207 all-sea view rooms will feature a host of facilities, spanning a signature spa and palatial pool.
•Diving: Larnaca’s reputation as a diving destination will be boosted further with the announcement that an artificial reef will be created this year, adding to the region’s underwater allure for both novice and professional divers.
Meanwhile, the Free Winter Experiences programme for Larnaca region hotel guests is returning for its fifth year and has also been officially recognised with a TripAdvisor ‘2017 Certificate of Excellence’. The programme of complimentary activities and experiences, which runs until April 30, was created by the Larnaca Tourism Board (LTB) and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) to offer winter tourists something authentic and interesting during their stay.
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