Lillian Panayi of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation in London shares her enthusiasm in an interview with ITCM’In contrast to so many destinations, the C&I business in Cyprus has continued to grow’, says Lillian Panayi, Assistant Director of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation in London.
The island’s recently launched Cyprus Convention Bureau is currently running a new campaign with the slogan ‘Passion for Success’. Lillian has been the focal point in London for the promotion of Cyprus for C&I events for many years, but she never fails to display that passion when she reviews the long list of reasons why Cyprus is a favourite for event organisers.
‘First’, she says, ‘Cyprus is a year-round destination, with a favourable climate throughout the year, even in spring and autumn, which are most popular for corporate groups. During this shoulder period competitive rates are available and it is important to stress that the island represents good value for money. Event organisers get excellent service and facilities for a smaller budget.’
She goes on to point out that ‘Cyprus has the unusual combination of a small area with a large variety of contrasting features. It has all the sandy beaches a group can desire with mountains high enough to be snow-capped and accessible enough for a single day’s itinerary to encompass ski-ing in the morning and an evening swim in the warm sea.’
Lillian goes on to point out that the island is steeped in antiquity and is known worldwide in mythology as the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. There are Roman and Greek antiquities at every turn. Special arrangements can be made via the Department of Antiquities with the assistance of local DMCs to use some of these ancient sites for specific events to create a truly unique and memorable experience.
Because the island is compact and very dependent on tourism, the Cypriot people as a whole are warmly welcoming to foreign visitors, whilst the national and local authorities are ready to go to great lengths to provide groups with whatever is needed to make an event a success. ‘It is no problem for a corporate group to take over the market square of a Cypriot village for an alfresco gala dinner. The local inhabitants will be only too pleased to welcome groups and even cook and bake some of their local specialities.’
And the good times are likely to get better, ‘because’, explains Lillian, ‘in July 2012 Cyprus takes over the Presidency of the EU. The island will be the venue for a large number of top line meetings. In recent years, Cyprus has made substantial investments in landscaping, improving the roads and creating two new airports. The private sector has invested in spa and wellness facilities, excellent golf courses and new marinas to complement the state-of-the-art conference facilities. This will all be to the benefit of companies who choose Cyprus for their events, either for conferences or incentives – or a mix of both’.