21 April 2014 10:23

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) has turned to Swiss airline company Edelweiss in a bid to open up more doors for visitors from central European countries.
The last few years has seen the CTO heighten its campaigns to bring more visitors to the island as efforts continue to kick-start the struggling economy.
Winter and sports tourism has been given particular emphasis by industry officials and operators but bringing in more tourists from countries such as Switzerland and Germany is also key.
For this reason, a deal was recently signed with airline company Edelweiss – named after the popular flower found in the Swiss Alps – in which they will start operating direct flights from Zurich to Larnaca as of this coming November.
CTO officials are hopeful that the airline will fly in thousands of visitors during the winter months with government records showing that Cyprus received 42,000 visitors from Switzerland alone in 2013.
The airline is a wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss International Air Lines and the Lufthansa Group with its head offices situated at Zurich Airport. Founded in 1995, the airline originally started out with just a single McDonnell Douglas MD-83 but now has a fleet of seven airliners and its destinations today stretch as far as Mexico City, Cape Town, Las Vegas, Tokyo and the Maldives.
It also operates seasonal flights to the Greek airports in Heraklion, Kos, Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini as well as to Turkish airports in Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman.
Meanwhile, campaigns are also underway to open up more doors for Germany and CTO officials are confident that they can also persuade German tour operators to choose Cyprus as a hot-spot for the winter months.
According to sources of INBusiness, a deal is close to being signed with two German airline companies – that will fly out to both Larnaca and Paphos - with an announcement expected soon.
Last year, Cyprus received 88,000 visitors arriving from Germany – a figure deemed far too low by CTO officials as it accounts for just 10% of the number of British visitors coming to Cyprus each year.
According to figures from the German Foreign Ministry, around 40 million people travelled outside of the country during the holiday seasons in 2013.
Earlier this month, budget airliner Ryanair restarted flights to Paphos while Emirates announced that it would be increasing capacity on its services to Cyprus, with the addition of three more flights a week as of 1 August.


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