Cyprus34 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 66Destination Management, Olga Xanthou-Kondo. "The hospitality industry is preparing itself for the influx of international dignitaries who will be meeting here. Our guests can only benefit from these efforts, which are bound to raise the standard." DMC representation company, GTAssociates' Partner Alan Wodzynski says feedback received from agencies is that Cyprus is re-emerging on the agenda. "Global investors have invested heavily in Cyprus; Limassol has refurbished the city centre and is rebranding and the Government has secured ?2.5bn of refinancing and almost overnight has doubled its GDP." Local DMC Event Makers Cypriot Partner Evie Demetriou told CMW the recent developments are a massive asset for the island. "We are proud of the way Limassol has used the EU finance so far to preserve and renovate key historic buildings giving business visitors so many options," she adds. "New urban projects, golf and other leisure amenities have been made without losing the heart of old Cyprus." Xanthou-Kondo says the Government has realised the value and is supporting its meetings industry. She adds the number of return events are increasing: "This is the most convincing evidence of our potential." Legend has it that Cyprus is the birthplace of the Goddess of pleasure. The island certainly contains all a planner needs for a pleasurable event. Hotel beds on offer in CyprusCyprus Convention Bureau30,000Also the introduction of the CCB's Ambassador Programme has helped promote Cyprus. "Conferences and incentives constitute a strategic priority for our development. Such events add significantly to the economy," she said.The Cypriot meetings offering is large compared to the country's size with over 30,000 hotel beds. Two of the largest hotels on the island are the Four Seasons Hotel offering and St Raphael Resort, with capacity for 525 delegates. Cyprus has made significant investment in its hotels, airports and motorways including the ?350m Limassol Marina which includes 273 units, restaurants and shops and is set to be completed by 2014. Other new centres includes a 1,300-delegate Kind Angel of the World, due in 2013. Plans to construct a purpose-built conference centre with capacity for 2,000 delegates are on hold. "We are waiting for the Government to lend the selected land to the developers," Board Chairman of the Limassol Tourism Committee, Tony Antoniou told CMW. However, an upgrade of the Lefkosia Conference Centre is due to be finished ahead of Cyprus' six-month tenure of the EU presidency in 2012. This six-month presidency is expected to bring in 300 conferences as a result. "In anticipation of this the whole island is working intensively to complete a series of infrastructure projects in order to present itself in the best possible light," says MD of Premier from top: lefkara Villiage, Kykko Monastary, limassol Beach, Pafos lighthouse, tomb of the kingsOut and aboutIt is Cyprus' Mediterranean position, European mentality and attractive climate which helps attract business events to its shores. The island offers a myriad of experiences for delegates, whether it be a treasure hunt or ski trip in the snowy mountains, a village fiesta or cooking class, hot air ballooning or sunset BBQ on the beach. A group can take over a whole village for a night such as Anogyra or Laneia, with the full blessing and encouragement of the village itself, and sample some of its delicacies, music and handicrafts. In the wine region of the island delegates can visit a winery and see how wine is made, then sample the variety of wines on offer. Roddy Damalis is the owner of Ta Piatakia, a cookery workshop next to his popular restaurant by the same name. Delegates can join in a cooking demonstration or compete in a cooking competition. In Anogyra there is a small 'halloumi factory' where visitors can try fresh produce and see cheese being made from the milking of the goats to the final product. Arrangements can be made to see traditional Cypriot baking in clay ovens in villages such as Letymbou (Pafos region) and delegates can then sample the food in a rural setting. The unique size of the island allows a group to be able to ski and swim in the same day with the chance to head to the mountains just 30 minutes from the beach. There's also the chance to extend a business trip with the family without much hassle. With permission an organiser can use an archaeological site for an opening ceremony or evening drinks reception. Many of the open air spaces offer a blank canvas for events, allowing an event to make it their own. Cyprus' attractive attributes means archaeological, culture and history can be incorporated into an event programme with a little help for a DMC or the CTO.
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