The small island offers access to beaches, snow, ancient culture and great food and wineNo MICE gathering is complete without a chat with Lillian Panayi. She is the stalwart representative of Cyprus Tourism and can always be relied upon for an insight into what is happening on the MICE scene in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
Enquiries for Cyprus are on the up from every direction. The UK has always been a great market. Mainland Europe enjoys what Cyprus has to offer. It’s perennially popular with Americans – and now it is being discovered by Asia. India and China are looming larger as market sources.
Lillian accounts for much of the Cyprus appeal by explaining that the island is like many different destinations – even climates – rolled into one. There are golden beach resorts, traditional villages, snow-covered mountain peaks and excellent gastronomy – and you don’t have to choose between them.
Lillian also emphasises that Cypriots are seriously welcoming, proud to show off the glories of their island. It is not a problem to arrange for a visiting group of delegates to stop off for a lunch, with the whole of a market square devoted to entertaining them. They can sample typical village cuisine and do some local wine tasting at the same time.
Cyprus, being a small unit that thrives on tourism, readily adapts to what is in vogue. Cycling is gaining in popularity everywhere and so the island can now offer tailored cycling trails – and Lillian also points out that for the Athens Olympics Cyprus was the base for the British cycle team.
Business visitors are usually surprised at the high quality of Cyprus wines, made from a blend of local and imported grapes. ‘They are not produced in large quantities for export’, says Lillian, ‘and so you have to come to Cyprus to appreciate them’.