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Holiday weddings feeling pinch

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Resort towns report a slowdown in foreign civil weddings, dashing hopes that the industry would continue from where it had left off in 2022, a record year for income.

The civil wedding industry has become one of the most profitable services for coastal municipalities, but a dip in bookings from the UK threatens to break the trend.

Quoted by news site Stockwatch, an Ayia Napa municipality official reported that in 2022 the local authorities facilitated 900 civil weddings, bringing a record income of €450,000.

“This year, bookings have been slow in Ayia Napa and all municipalities in the Famagusta region.

“The drop is mainly down to low interest from the UK market,” said the official.

Before the COVID pandemic, some 1,200 couples would come to tie the knot in Ayia Napa.

Similarly, the Peyia municipality in Paphos also reports a drop in bookings for civil weddings by foreigners.

Peyia Municipality officer Maria Yiangou said 850 civil weddings were carried out in 2022 by authorities, fetching €500,000.

She noted that 2022 was a good year for the industry, as weddings postponed during the pandemic were rescheduled for last year.

There are decreased bookings for the current year, but indications are that 2024 will be on the rise again.

British, Israelis and Russians prefer Peyia, said Yiangou.

The fixed fee is €282, and municipalities charge for the extra services they offer in the specially designed venues they have created for weddings.

Yermasoyia Municipality officer, Panayiota Vartholomeou, said the authorities of the Limassol municipality conducted 421 civil weddings last year, generating around €150,000.

Vartholomeou said the local municipality has also noticed a decline in wedding bookings this year.

Last year the island’s Antiquities Department gave the green light for civil weddings to be conducted at Medieval Castles and other ancient monuments to boost the sector.

But very little interest has been recorded so far, attributed to the restrictions imposed and the higher cost of €1000-1500.

At the same time, the maximum number who can attend wedding ceremonies at archaeological sites is set at 30, while throwing flowers, confetti and rice is prohibited, along with any fireworks display.