Cyprus | Posted:

More than 65 per cent of the conferences and almost 50 per cent of the incentive events held in Cyprus in 2011 were new to the Mediterranean island, latest statistics have revealed.

And Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) officials are confident that 2012's figures will be even better, thanks to Cyprus having taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union between 1 July and 31 December 2012.

Released on 2 January, The CTO's latest B2B study – for the year ending December 31, 2011 and concerned with only events held on the Greek side of the island – also showed that 352 events (263 conference and 89 incentive events) were hosted in 2011, which lasted on average 5.59 days and constituted more than 250,000 room nights.

The southern beachside destinations of Limassol (55 per cent) and Paphos (25 per cent) attracted the greatest share of these events, while the island’s capital, Nicosia, ranked third in the island’s conference market (nine per cent).

Business from overseas formed almost a third of that total and comprised 36,655 incoming visitors. International events contributed 20,751 participants, while European events came in second with 14,985 participants. Of these, association conferences were the most popular, attracting 8,946 participants, while academic (8,662) and corporate (7,884) conferences also played their part. The three most important nationalities in terms of participation were Russian, Greek and British, respectively.

The CTO is also in an optimistic mood, as this spring will see the one-year anniversary of the launch of its meetings and events industry wing, the Cyprus Convention Bureau, while also in progress is the current €656m (£531m) refurbishment of Larnaca International Airport, the island’s principal entry point and which when finished later this year will welcome more than 9m visitors per year.