When it comes to being a destination for weddings, you don’t get much better than being the town where the goddess of love, Aphrodite was born.
In addition to the beauty of the district and the wide variety of venues for nuptials, the links Paphos has with Aphrodite make it an ideal spot for the overseas wedding market.
The Paphos Regional Board of Tourism estimates that there are 2,500 weddings every year in Paphos District. It assesses that the sector is worth €3million to €5m annually.
The Cyprus Weekly spoke with the board about what attracts couples to Paphos for their weddings and what plans are in store for the sector.
“Paphos has always been a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons especially from England which is the largest market. It is attractive because it is competitive, affordable and many wedding packages are on offer.
A smaller number of couples come from Russia and Israel and we are working on improving air access from other potential markets. Without the necessary air links, it is impossible to grow. Tourism stakeholders and the municipalities of Paphos, Peyia, Yeroskipou and Polis are aiming at further growth in new markets like Lebanon, Scotland and Ireland.
For this purpose we have developed an action plan for the coming years. It includes participating in several exhibitions overseas, press trips from target markets, development of digital promotional material and a greater presence on social media.
We are also working on our relationship with travel agents who are situated in target markets.
We’re especially excited about the addition of new venues such as the mediaeval castle, museums and other options for a richer selection of spots for ceremonies and receptions.
At the end of the day, we need proper marketing to make prospective couples aware of what Paphos has to offer. We have plans for more aggressive and strategic overseas marketing in the next few years which could lift numbers considerably.”
Owner of Ido Weddings (www.ido.com.cy), Paphos wedding planner Igor Milijic, has more than 15 years of experience in the local sector. During this time, he has regularly contributed ideas to the authorities on how to develop the product to make it more attractive to couples from abroad. Years ago when the idea was still novel, Igor pushed for permission for beach weddings, and was one of the first to have access to scenic coastal spots in Peyia for ceremonies.
He is confident that Cyprus has a great deal to offer for couples seeking a wedding experience abroad in a beautiful and sunny location but acknowledges that there are always hurdles.
“Cyprus is definitely on the map for weddings in the world. Canada has Niagara Falls, America has Las Vegas and Europe has Cyprus. Keeping the high standards in the wedding industry has become the most challenging aspect of creating the perfect wedding day, whilst maintaining the high quality of services during these difficult economic times.”
He says that selecting and developing locations for ceremonies continues to be the biggest challenge for wedding planners and lists some of the spots which prove to be popular.
“Cyprus, in recent years, has brought many new ceremony venues to choose from. In Paphos district alone locations such as the Turkish Baths, the Ethnographic Museum, the castle and, in Peyia, a beach ceremony venue called ‘Live Love’, highlight the fantastic historical background that Paphos has to offer.”
Igor adds that monitoring and regulating the sector would reap benefits.
“Improving service and quality can be further achieved by regulating the wedding industry with licensed, qualified and experienced planners who know what to provide and take pride in their planning preparations. This will also benefit the Cyprus tourism industry as the couple will hopefully want to return in the future to re-new the memories of their romantic wedding day.”