With more airlines flying into and out of the island, outbound tourism in Cyprus is changing. While it is a long time since there were few flights beyond the main markets of Greece and the UK, there are now direct flights to 49 destinations from Larnaca and an additional 27 from Paphos.
And the fact that many of these new flights are operated by budget airlines means more people are able to take advantage. “People travel a lot, in winter and summer as we are an island,” Akis Kelepeshis, executive president of Top Kinisis travel said, “now they take advantage of low budget flights and other flights depending on the cost and the cost for hotels.
“We fly to Bucharest, Athens, Thessaloniki and Constanta in Romania. Every flight to Athens is full,” Pavlos Ioannou from Blue Air, a relative newcomer to the island said, adding “mostly they stay in Athens and Thessaloniki between three days and a week.”
Cypriots are also keen on travel to other places. “For long weekends, people tended to travel mainly to Athens and Thessaloniki,” Astero Efstathiou from Louis Tours said. “There were not many destinations available. Now, there is a bigger choice and people can travel further and get good deals, especially if they book well in advance.”
Cobalt Air, scheduled to start operations from June, is set to roll out entirely new routes to Europe, Asia and the Middle East using an initial fleet of five Airbus jetliners. Their intended niche market includes China.
Transavia is another low budget airline which is taking advantage of a niche. They offer two weekly direct flights to Amsterdam, formerly served by Cyprus Airways.