“This year Cyprus celebrates 50 years of independence,” said Hrach Kalsahakian, marketing manager of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation has attended the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai since the late 1990s and has a regional office in Dubai.
“We have 22 tourist offices outside of Cyprus,” said Kalsahakian, “Cyprus is the closest European destination to this part of the world. Last year Cyprus received 2.3 million tourists, of which 50,000 came from the Middle East, and we are at the show to build on those figures.”
Most tourists to Cyprus go for the Mediterranean sunshine and beaches but it does offer more.
“Of course we have a wealth of sandy beaches but we also have beautiful nature. We have rugged coasts to breathtaking mountain peaks, sunny vineyards and cool pine forests. We have many religious tourists who go to see the Byzantine churches from the middle-ages, which are listed on the UNESCO Heritage List, and Islamic sites from the Ottoman period. Cyprus was the first country the apostles Paul and Barnabas visited in their journey to spread Christianity", Kalsahakian said.
Emirates flies from Dubai to Larnaka every day, and Etihad flies from Abu Dhabi to Larnaka four times a week. Gulf Air flies from Bahrain to Larnaka.
“There are many travel options available to this region so we hope the tourist figure will rise. On October 1 this year Cyprus is celebrating 50 years of independence. It will be a huge cultural affair lasting a few days, a perfect time to visit Cyprus and celebrate with us,” Kalsahakian said.
Website of the "Arabian Aerospace" magazine: http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/
The interview was published in the August 2010 issue of "Arabian Aerospace" magazine and appeared online here on 10 August 2010