By Annette Chrysostomou
Around 8,000 couples from abroad chose Cyprus as their wedding destination this year, with the number steadily climbing over the years, according to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO).
It remains an important objective of the CTO to maintain the leading position of Cyprus as a wedding tourism destination by improving services and reinforcing marketing activities, said Annita Demetriades, deputy director of the organisation said at a training seminar on wedding tourism.
The seminar entitled ‘The Wonderful World of Weddings’ was the first of its kind in Cyprus.
An initiative of the CTO, it was organised for officials who conduct civil marriage services nationwide and attended by experienced travel consultant Marlen Taffarello from the UK.
Cyprus has a top position among Mediterranean and European wedding tourist destinations, with huge benefits for the tourism industry, Demetriades said.
“The objective of the organisation,” she added, “is to maintain the leading position in the main markets of the wedding tourism product such as the United Kingdom, Israel, Lebanon and Russia.”
“Focusing on the above markets will contribute to the lengthening of the season from March to November for the UK and Russia as well as increase the number of wedding arrivals throughout the year especially from Lebanon and Israel,” the CTO official concluded.
Currently, around half of the weddings in Cyprus are British holiday makers, the CTO said.
According to leading association of British travel agents and tour operators ABTA, one in five UK weddings now takes place abroad with Cyprus attracting some of the biggest wedding parties.
Destination wedding site MarryAbroad also names Cyprus as one of the top ten wedding destinations for British couples who have planned or are planning to get married.
In October, Paphos had already brought in around €500,000 in revenue from civil wedding tourism. The municipality’s wedding official Lia Kosti said at the time that the number of marriages was up 20 per cent over the same period last year with 1,132 people having tied the knot in the district.