JEDDAH: Cyprus Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios has revealed recently that the Mediterranean country is prepared to welcome Saudi tourists as he confirmed the opening of direct flights to and from Jeddah.
The minister, who arrived last week to Saudi Arabia for a short visit to promote the country’s tourism industry, held separate meetings with senior officials from the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the General Authority of Civil Aviation as well as air carriers and representatives of travel agencies.
“We are here campaigning to encourage airline companies to keep their connections with the island and to convince tour operators to set up packages for Cyprus by buying seats on scheduled flights,” the minister said.
We’ve improved our products, and we want to show the world that Cyprus is not only a sea destination.
Savvas Perdios, Cyprus minister for tourism
Speaking to Arab News, Perdios said that many changes had occurred in Cyprus, “especially with regard to tourism during the last two years.”
“We’ve improved our products, and we want to show the world that Cyprus is not only a sea destination,” he said.
Cyprus’ offer, Perdios says, is a world-class opportunity to promote the rich culture and civilization of the island.
He stated that the country is planning for scheduled flights from Jeddah to Cyprus for the first time, starting shortly. “We will have two flights weekly on Cyprus Airways. This is going to be a big step for us to increase tourists from Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Although currently all Saudis wishing to visit Cyprus are required to travel to Riyadh, individuals wishing to visit Cyprus in the near future would be able to receive an entry visa from the city of Jeddah, Perdios explained.
In addition, he stated that Saudi citizens can enter Cyprus if they hold a Schengen or Cypriot visa.
He predicted that the number of Saudi tourists visiting Cyprus will grow in the coming months due to the new direct flights between the two countries and the measures taken to facilitate entry visas.
“Cyprus can be a tourist destination all year round, as it offers various options in addition to the beaches for which it is famous, including cultural tourism, conference and incentives tourism, hiking tourism and sports tourism,” Perdios said.
He emphasized that efforts were being made to change current impressions of Cyprus as a beach destination.
“In order to prepare for a new era of travel, Cyprus has implemented various initiatives in the tourist industry over the last few years, including the integration of rural tourism and infrastructural upgrades, making the tourism sector more competitive and improving tourism goods.”
The Mediterranean country has a population of 1.22 million. Its main industry is tourism, accounting for around 18 percent of all nation’s economy.