As the newest entrant into the Indian market, this island nation has already set the pulse of travel trade in India racing. Five operators and one event planner return from a five-day educational tour with exciting ideas.
Rohit Jadhav, Head–Client Servicing, Milestones to Memories
Cyprus is a good destination for the Indian outbound, especially Limassol and Agia Napa. As far as weddings are concerned, there are limited choices due to lack of international branded hotels. They work with certain parameters in place which the wedding market demands. Also, most hotels shut down during winters from November to March, which are the main months for Indian weddings, and reopen from April onwards. However, we also do social events and Cyprus will work for birthdays, anniversaries, etc since these involve a limited number of guests of 80-100 pax.
Mahesh Thapa, Manager–FIT Operations, SOTC Travel
Cyprus is an unexplored destination for the Indian FIT. It has potential in our market but it needs to generate mass awareness. For instance, this is a seasonal destination, that is, from April to October, so it can serve as an alternative to Greece, Turkey or other neighbouring countries. Cyprus will go well with the evolved traveller as well as honeymooners, small groups and families, specially Ayia Napa combined with Limassol and Nicosia. Language is not a barrier as a majority of Cypriots speak English. But it has limited number of international chain hotels which may not be an issue with FITs as it also has beautiful boutique hotels.
Avin Jain, Managing Partner, Tours for Us
One thing which stands out is that Cyprus is a very safe country. Also, there is a wrong notion that getting to Cyprus is difficult. It’s a reasonably approachable destination with a decent number of flights and good hotels. It offers something for every age group. It has a flavour of a Greek island with its beaches and architecture but with its own taste. It is also has a good nightlife, good restaurants and people here are very tourist-friendly, which is a big plus for Indian travellers. For me, one of the highlights was visiting Cyprus’ golf courses which my MiCE and business clients demand.
Mehernosh Colombowalla, Director, Beyond Borders
Cyprus is a new destination for India and we are always looking for a new place to visit. It has something to offer to all budgets – from economy to HNIs. Cyprus has beautiful beaches as well as mountains. It also offers a lot of activities, so you will find something of interest for every client. It is not difficult to get to Cyprus because there are a lot of airlines flying here with excellent connections at convenient times. Visa is also not a problem. While Cyprus will also appeal to the family segment, it cannot be called a kid-centric destination. However, it is a very safe country and everyone here speaks English.
Mamta Shah, Director, Sanskruti Travels
Cyprus is a complete destination for any traveller. It can be a complete value-for-money destination. With so much to offer, I found this to be a hidden gem. It will appeal to honeymooners and leisure travellers alike. Local transport looks a little challenging but I am sure it will improve as the numbers grow. Cyprus has also preserved its archaeological sites well which will appeal to history lovers. The Cypriot culture is similar to ours and its people are friendly. The Cypriot cuisine is a fusion of Asian, European and Arabic dishes with lots of vegetarian options. It also has an exciting nightlife.
Sunnil Uparie, Director, Luxury Life Holidays
I see great potential for Cyprus for three segments – FIT, MiCE and leisure. The FIT traveller will especially love Agia Napa’s turquoise blue waters and white sands, nightlife and good food. In fact, they celebrate potato festival here with as many as 250 different dishes made from it including potato kheer! For MiCE and weddings, Cyprus undoubtedly has excellent venues that can host about 30,000 delegates annually. The leisure traveller will also not be disappointed. For those who just want to rest can visit Pafos which is perfect for relaxation.
Demetrios Theophylactou, High Commissioner of Cyprus
We issue a lot of group visas to Indians who come here for MiCE. Many companies prefer to have their meetings and conventions here because of the simple visa procedure. For the moment, we have kept the process simple, especially for groups as big as 100 pax. Moreover, we provide visas in a relatively faster time. We can expedite the process since we are not fully Schengen members yet and for the moment we don’t require biometrics. So if you have a Cyprus visa, you can’t enter other Schengen countries except Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. But the Cyprus Tourism Organisation needs to be consistent in tapping the Indian market.
Rudolph Crasto, Director, Sea-Hat Travel & Tours
Cyprus can offer high value for money to the Indian market, especially because Indians are always looking for a new destination. Plus, it’s not very far from India – about eight hours. Whatever the Indian market touches, it grows. Cyprus is ready to cater to all the demands for Indian tourists. That is the ethos of tourism – to offer what the traveller wants. The aim behind planning this education tour for the Indian buyers was to show them a puzzle and let them join the dots. I have worked with the Indian market for the last 17 years and I know what will work with them.
Demetris Ioakeim, Director, Opera Travel
Cyprus may seem to be a tiny island compared as compared to the vastness of India but we have so much to offer. We are a year-round EU Mediterranean destination where visitors can relax and enjoy the hospitality and warmth of our people. We share many values with you – a high regard for family life, respect for our elders, a colourful culture and history, and of course, a love for living. Cyprus is the Island of Love as it is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. It is my hope to visit India either with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation or as a tourist with my family.