Paphos is preparing to welcome hundreds of Israeli tourism professionals in November for an annual conference as tourism from Israel is showing huge prospects for the coastal resort.
The Israeli market has seen considerable growth over the last two years and concerted efforts are being made to expand this segment further by tourism professionals and stake holders, according to Nasos Hadjigeorgiou, head of the Paphos regional board of tourism.
The participants will arrive in Paphos for the annual meeting of the Israel association of travel agencies and consultants which will be held for the first time in the coastal town.
“More than three hundred members will attend. It’s a great opportunity for Paphos in particular, and for Cyprus in general, to promote the destination, pass on information and increase awareness of what we offer,”
He added that the local tourism board is in talks with the association to finalise their programme, which will consist of the conference and also leisure activities.
The annual conference will take place at the five-star Elysium Hotel in Paphos from November 27-29 November 2018.
“The Israeli market has great prospects and has considerable scope for developing new market segments such as short breaks, specialised group tourism, conferences, sports tourism, countryside tourism, wedding ceremonies and honeymoons,” he said.
Currently, low cost carrier Ryanair operates daily flights connecting Paphos and Tel Aviv in Israel, which will continue throughout the winter, said Hadjigeorgiou, adding that other ‘ad hoc’ charter flights also operate.
According to the tourism head, official statistics shown a cumulative growth in arrivals to Cyprus in this market sector, almost double, for the period of January-July 2018, compared to a similar period in 2016.
In this period in 2016, there were 73,000 arrivals in Cyprus from Israel, compared with 126,500 for a similar period this year.
Radu Stefan Mitroi is from Israel and took over as Hotel Manager of five star Almyra Hotel in Paphos almost two years ago.
He said that the luxury establishment has seen around a 25 per cent increase in the number of guests from Israel in the last two years.
“There has been a major increase in this market for us, not least because of the daily flights which operate both in the summer and winter and only take 45 minutes,” he said.
He explained that one of Paphos’ main competitors in the Israeli market is Eilat, which has many similarities, but is three to four times more expensive for Israeli holidaymakers, even taking into consideration the cost of flights to get here.
“If you compare costs for an average family of four staying in a five-star hotel, it is much better value for money in Cyprus. It’s a great product here and there is something for everyone,” he said.
In addition, he said that the increase has been helped by the opening of a Jewish Centre- of which there is one in most cities in the world, he said.
He explained that as well as helping to feed, house and help, for free, Jewish and Israeli people, such centres also cook Kosher food.
“This is a huge benefit for hotels such as ours, as Kosher food for an entire family is just one phone call away, it’s good for all the hotels and a big advantage.”
The hotel manager added that Paphos has many gems of all sorts to offer- alongside the usual attractions, such as water parks, boat trips and so on- such as the Blue Lagoon, the Sea Caves and traditional villages like Omodos, all of which Israeli families love.
In 2017, a delegation of officials from Cyprus, headed up by Paphos mayor, Phedonas Phedonos,travelled to Israeli for Paphos official twinning with Herzliya on Ryanair’s inaugural flight connecting Paphos to Tel Aviv. the twinning further strengthens the ties between the two countries, said officials.
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