28 December, 2015

Cypriot signature tourism destinations seek to reach out to Arab world through Jordan's gate


28 December 2015
PAFOS, Cyprus -- A Jordanian delegation of tourist agents, media outlets, and Royal Jordanian (RJ) airline personnel spent three days last week in the coastal city of Pafos, touring its attractions and hotels to further boost and increase cooperation between Cyprus and Jordan. The invitation came from Pafos Regional Board of Tourism (PRBT) in cooperation with Royal Tours and RJ airlines.

The 17-member delegation spent one day in Larnaca and two days in Pafos touring attractions there. The head of the delegation, Sana Tadros, said Pafos was introduced as a new destination to Jordanian tourist agents, and "we found that it has a lot to offer." In Amman earlier last month, Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji and Pafos Mayor Phedon Phedonos signed a twinning agreement to enhance cooperation.

Among the places the delegation visited were Saint Neophytos Monastery, Aphrodite Spa, archaeological parks, a mediaeval castle, the old town and the beach front. Mayor Phedonos told the delegation at a meeting that the campaign to promote this Mediterranean town is not restricted to official cooperation, but also includes efforts to reach out to the people, relying on a history ex-tending over 3,000 years between the two nations.

"We need to focus on enhancing the historical relationship between the two countries and not only economic ties, since Jordan is the gate-way to the entire Arab world, while Cyprus is the bridge to Europe," he said. Pafos, which lies in the southwest of Cyprus and is the capital of Paphos District, is famous for its fine mosaics, and known as the place Paul the Apostle visited during the 1st century AD.

Nasos Hadjigeorgiou, PRBT executive manager, told The Jordan Times that the visit aimed to give the delegation an idea about Pafos and what it has to offer. He said 600 Jordanians visit Pafos annu-ally during May through September. "We believe that this number is not enough due to the lack of incentives and promotion, as well as the high [air] fare of RJ," said Hadjigeorgiou, stressing that expectations are high after the Jordanian visit.

"We expect a better re-lationship between tour agencies and hoteliers from both sides, not only during summer times but all year long since Pafos is a good destination for athletic tourism, short-break visits, and conferences." He added that in Pafos, there are four golf courses, sports centres, Olympic size swimming pools and a football field, in addition to the "best quality sea water, the cleanest in the Eastern Mediterranean".

Salem Odeh, managing director of Golden Crown Tours, said the Cypriots are "generous and kind people", which is an asset for the island's promotion efforts. He added that there is great potential for the two countries to focus on religious tourism since both have many religious sites mentioned in the Bible. Odeh said the one thing missing in the trip was meeting and talking to Cypriot agents in order to share ideas.

© Jordan Times 2015