Efforts to promote Cyprus as a tourism destination to American travellers are beginning to bear fruit as interest is growing, Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios said on Friday during his ongoing trip to the US.

Perdios held meetings in Washington and New York with Cypriot expatriates and travel agents to promote the island to a relatively new market.

Important meetings were held with the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), he told the Cyprus News Agency.

“These associations are of great importance to us because they have a significant number of members who are active in the travel industry and can open the door to the US for us by slowly helping us develop this large market.”

Perdios added that his priority is targeting the areas of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, calling them “important first steps.”

“In addition to that, Royal Caribbean cruise liner, which is part of a US company, has already opened a regional office serving the Eastern Mediterranean region in Cyprus. This will undoubtedly contribute to creating interest in visiting Cyprus within the US market.”

Speaking after an event held in Astoria, an area in New York largely populated by Cypriots and Greeks, he said the general impression gained after his trip to the US are “overwhelmingly positive.”

“Americans, who are a well-travelled people, are looking for something new, something different in Europe. The fact that Cyprus is now taking its first steps in this market is positive. So we need to present our island as a novelty, as something different,” he said.

The event was held at a well-known restaurant in Astoria, in the presence of many stakeholders of the Cypriot community and expats, who Perdios praised for their courage.

“You left your home country in search of something better. This is something I respect very much because I am a refugee myself,” he told the audience.

“Your role is very important too. You are our ambassadors to the US and that is why it’s very important that you are here tonight,” the deputy minister concluded.