The economic crisis that rocked Cyprus is not yet over, but the island’s seductive charms are too much for holidaymakers to resist. Inspired by the multi-cultural influences, mouth-watering flavours and the sultry climate, the birthplace of Aphrodite is easy to fall in love with.
The tourist trade has taken a hit since 2008, but Ntinos Kakkouras, President of the Association of Travel Agents, recently announced that the 2015 tourist season was showing signs of a positive turnaround.
Last-minute flights to Cyprus have already increased by 44 per cent this summer, and Kakkouras told Cyprus News Agency that he expects the trend to continue as holidaymakers from all over Europe look for an inexpensive getaway to warmer climes.
Numbers released by the Cyprus Statistical Service show a 5.7% increase in visitors in the first two quarters of 2015. Visitors from the UK, who find familiar comforts from back home like red letter boxes and Marks & Spencer, have increased by 9.9%.
Why Cyprus is such as popular destination
Divided into two regions, the Turkish Cypriots in the north and the Greek Cypriots in the south, Cyprus has contrasting flavours. The remnants of the unrest in 1974 can still be found in the ghost town of Varosha in the popular resort of Famagusta.
Once labelled as the French Riviera of the Eastern Mediterranean, Famagusta bustled with high-end hotels and casinos, attracting Hollywood stars like Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot. Today the stretch of deserted beach lined with pockmarked hotels is guarded by military men with machine guns.
And Cyprus has more to offer than an intriguing recent history. Ancient ruins, secluded coves with crystal clear waters, sun-drenched white-sands and flavour-bursting cuisine is a welcome escape. And with the warm welcome of friendly Cypriots, this pearl of the Mediterranean is a charm that keeps visitors going back for more.