Figures released by the Statistical Service relating to the Passengers Survey, show an overall increase of 32.7% in November 2015, compared with arrivals during the same month in 2014. Leading the way are Russian arrivals, which have increased by a very encouraging 103.3 %, and undoubtedly boosted by holiday cancellations to Sharm el-Sheik, as tourists seek an alternative safe holiday destination to enjoy some warm winter sunshine. United Kingdom (U.K.) tourists also showed a very healthy 45% increase, whilst Greek visitors were up by 26.5%. There was a small dip in numbers of tourists from Germany during the same period, amounting to 8.6% according to the survey.
An expanding in-coming tourist market for Cyprus is Lebanon, with the numbers of visitors expected to be more than 35,000 during the coming year, mostly accounted for by people coming for short breaks and owing in part to the close proximity of the two countries.
During the long years of the civil war in Lebanon (1975 – 1990), many Lebanese sought refuge in Cyprus and although many returned home at the end of the war, ties between the two countries have remained ever since. Wedding tourism to Cyprus from Lebanon, Israel and other Middle Eastern countries is increasing as more couples seek a civil wedding ceremony rather than at religious one, and yet a legal marriage which is recognized at home.
According to a press release by the Cyprus Tourist Organization (C.T.O.), wedding tourism from Lebanon increased by 30% and contributed to total number of 8,000 couples from abroad who chose to marry in Cyprus this year. A workshop was organized in Beirut by the C.T.O. earlier this month, focusing on wedding tourism and short breaks. Addressing the gathering, the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon, Mrs Rafti, spoke of the importance of cooperation between the two countries and the mutual benefits it can bring to this growing sector. Cyprus is well placed to supply all the ingredients for a magical wedding venue and an abundance of accommodation ranging from 5 star hotels to self-catering apartments for guests.
Sources: www.theguardian.com, www.goldnews.com.cy, www.theguardian.com.
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