A month-long campaign promoting Paphos and traditional Cypriot food will get underway in Finland on Friday, with prize holiday stays as an added incentive.
The promotional campaign, which will take place over the next four weekends at four of the largest and busiest supermarkets in the Finnish capital Helsinki, will target potential visitors, according to the head of the Paphos regional board of tourism, Nasos Hadjigeorgiou.
“Our main goal is to create more awareness of Paphos and Cyprus and in the next years, to stabilise arrivals and stop the downward trend which started in 2011. This is very important, as without doing this we cannot grow this market,” he said.
According to Hadjigeorgiou, 36,000 tourists from Finland visited Paphos in 2011; in 2015 this number had dropped to just 19,500.
“Finland is a traditional market for us and a good one as they generally like to visit Cyprus off season. They like to avoid coming here in June, July and August, which is a big plus for Paphos.”
Supermarket shoppers in Finland will be offered the opportunity to sample traditional Cypriot food, in particular halloumi, he said. They will also learn about Paphos and Cyprus as a tourist destination and as a European Capital of Culture 2017.
“We will set up a number of information booths and have some representatives there to promote tourist services and experiences.”
The campaign is a joint effort between the Paphos regional board of tourism, hoteliers of the Paphos region and FILOS- Gavrielides Foods. The latter import and distribute Cypriot products in the Finnish market.
The action is part of wider ongoing efforts to raise awareness of Paphos to potential travellers. The shoppers will also be able to participate in prize drawers and win free accommodation at participating Paphos hotels.
These include Almyra, Amphora Hotel and suites, Capital Coast, Sentido Cypria Bay, Anemi Hotel apartments and Leptos Calypso hotels.
“The campaign will encourage people to visit a website and answer questions about Paphos and enter into the prize draw. Obviously, the questions are in Finnish as is the promotional material which is being handled out there.”
The tourism chief said that Finnish travellers mostly like to visit Cyprus in winter, they like to explore the area and many are athletes or golfers.
“We believe there is a good potential in this market, which is why we are undertaking a number of actions in Finland,” he said.
Other actions in Finland include participating in exhibitions and hosting workshops which present the Paphos region to travel agents.
“We have also invited travel agents and journalists to Paphos and we have the backup of the CTO,” he said.
He added that there are a number of mostly charter flights to the island, which cover several seasons from different regional airports in Finland. “There is potential to increase this coverage,” he said.