Over 1,200 British couples booking a Cyprus wedding are the first signs the island is regaining the trust of foreign tourists after coronavirus disrupted holiday travel.
With vaccinations picking up speed in the UK, one-third of the population has been vaccinated, and British Premier Boris Johnson telling Brits they may be able to travel abroad after 17 May, interest in Cyprus has picked up.
Weeks after Johnson’s announcement, Cyprus coastal municipalities of Ayia Napa and Paralimni said bookings for civil marriage ceremonies skyrocketed.
Ayia Napa Municipality has received 800 requests and the Paralimni Municipality another 450.
In comments to the website Philenews, Ayia Napa Mayor Christos Zannetos said that bookings are a welcome sign that a new era is dawning.
“It is one of hope for a better future and recovery following the nightmare we have all lived through.
“We have still a long way ahead of us, but bookings in Ayia Napa and Paralimni are a sign for the whole of the island that things are picking up ahead of the summer,” said Zannetos.
He stressed the news of wedding bookings had spread optimism about the positive knock-on economic effects.
“Each couple will travel to our island with dozens of relatives. Also, they will need some other services which they will have to buy from the Cypriot market.
“That includes flower shops, hairdressers, taxis for the couple and relatives, pastry shops for the wedding cake and sweets, a wedding reception in a hotel or tavern, and sometimes even clothes for the wedding reception.
Zannetos said bookings have started to flow in for weddings in 2023, “as Britons like to plan important events in advance”.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, Larnaca Mayor Andreas Vyras said the municipality has seen interest in civil weddings increase among Israelis.
“We have been receiving requests from Israel for weddings this coming spring and summer, with calls increasing every day,” said Vyras.
Vyras, chair of the Cyprus Union of Municipalities, said that local economies have suffered significant losses due to the coronavirus outbreak, as civil weddings dropped by 80%.
Interest from Israelis and Britons to get married on the island was boosted by Cyprus’ decision to allow entry to Israel and UK tourists who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 without having to get tested or go into quarantine.
The UK has vaccinated 23 million people up until Wednesday, and Israel more than 50% of its population.