President Anastasiades made an official visit to Israel on 15th June 2015. Speaking at a state dinner hosted by the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, the president noted the importance of the longstanding and positive ties between the two countries stating that they shared a mutual goal of promoting peace and resolving conflicts in the region.
Economic and business relationships between the two countries will be further enhanced by discovery of commercial quantities of natural gas recently confirmed in the Aphrodite field, with one of the companies involved in the exploration being the Israeli Dalek Group. President Rivlin expressed the view that the visit will strengthen the bilateral relationship and that the discovery of the hydrocarbon reserves is bringing the two islands ever closer together. As the president noted, the two countries have long shared many historical and cultural connections.
A surge of tourists from both Israel and Russia has led to a boost to tourism in 2014 with the trend expected to continue in the current season, according to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation. The short flight time from Tel Aviv to Larnaca Airport of 65 minutes, plus the availability of daily flights makes Cyprus a natural destination for a weekend or longer vacations for Israeli citizens. An Israeli passport holder with a passport valid for at least three months from the date of departure does not require a visa. An overall increase of 57.6% of Israeli tourists was recorded in 2014. The government’s investment citizenship scheme is also attracting sales in the property sector.
In the reverse direction, many pilgrims to the Holy Land visit Israel from Cyprus each year particularly before Easter and at Christmas. Many people travel by boat from the port of Limassol and it is a popular side trip undertaken by tourists of all nationalities whilst on holiday in Cyprus. Tours are easily organised by local travel companies.
Sources: www.israelinews.com, http://www.mof.gov.cy/mof/cystat, www.goldnews.com.cy.
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