Paphos municipality has carried out 1,300 civil weddings so far this year despite cancelations from travel giant Thomas Cook the head of Paphos civil marriage office said on Wednesday.
Doxa Economidou said with the number expected to increase by the end of 2019, the municipality hopes to top the 1,446 civil weddings carried out in 2018.
A popular wedding destination for foreigners as well as locals, Paphos hosts most of its marriages between March and November.
The hopes of a record-year for civil weddings is especially important for Paphos after the closure of Thomas Cook which went bust last month.
As part of the holiday services offered by the operator, Thomas Cook would also organise weddings for its customers, bringing millions to the wedding industry. Many couples who arranged their weddings with the tour operator were devasted when it shut down in September 23 as they had made substantial deposits.
Around 80-100 weddings were organised with Thomas Cook in Paphos per year. In 2019, 37 Thomas Cook weddings took place in Paphos, along with 50 cancelations after the company closed.
Paphos municipality had kept track of the company’s situation and arranged to receive all fees from the weddings organised through Thomas Cook before the company shut down in late September.
“We heard the rumours about the company shutting down, so we arranged to get paid one or two days after the weddings were taking place, instead of waiting for a few months for the invoice,” said Economidou.
The annual event to mark the end of the main wedding season took place on Tuesday evening at Hani of Ibrahim in Paphos, with representatives from foreign wedding organisers and local stakeholders.
In a speech read out by the deputy mayor Christos Makariou, Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos said Thomas Cook’s closure had not affected Paphos’ wedding industry.
The mayor explained that the addition of a direct flight from Israel to Paphos airport has increased the number of Israeli marriages hosted in Paphos. Starting from November, direct flights from Lebanon will also benefit Paphos’ wedding industry.
“The mayor already paid a visit to Lebanon to establish a good business relationship and to promote the planning of Lebanese weddings in Cyprus,” said Economidou.
But British weddings remain the most important, occupying 80 per cent of the market.