MUSCAT, Oman – Every year, around two and a half million tourists visit Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea which lies at the crossroads of three continents. The country has a lot to offer to Omani travelers, the ambassador of Cyprus to the Sultanate has said.
“In Cyprus, you can see all the layers of history. You can step back in time and enjoy the rich culture,” said Costas A. Papademas, who spoke proudly of his country, which has one of the oldest histories in the world.
The first signs of civilisation in Cyprus traced in archaeological excavations and research date back 11,000 years to 9th millennium BC. “At the same time, you can enjoy the Cypriot legendary hospitality, and you will be given the warmest of welcomes in Cyprus,” the ambassador said in an interview to the Times of Oman.
Tourists will be impressed by the stunning landscapes and ancient historical and cultural sites as well as the peaceful coexistence among people of different religions, he said, adding that Cyprus is keen to boost tourism cooperation with the Sultanate.
“Last year, Cyprus’ minister of energy, commerce, industry and tourism visited Oman and held meetings with a number of senior officials to explore the opportunities that exist in the tourism sector and other fields,” the ambassador said.
Papademas said the visa process is very simple and most of the times, the visa is issued on the very day the application is submitted.
Cyprus, which became a member of the European Union (EU) in 2004, is one of the countries that have supported a decision to eliminate visa requirements for Omanis travelling to the EU, he said.
“The decision is there. It will take maybe a year to complete, and hopefully Omanis can visit Cyprus and the EU without visa soon,” Papademas added.
According to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the island state is famous for its expansive coastline with a wide variety of beaches ranging from lively resorts to secluded bays, sandy beaches and rocky coves.
There is also a myriad of festivals and activities that tourists can indulge in during their stay in Cyprus, which include snorkelling or diving in the warm crystal clear seas, windsurfing, sailing, coastal cruising, deep-water fishing and bungee jumping.
Tourists visiting Cyprus can also plan a visit to Choirokoitia, one of the best preserved sites of a prehistoric settlement found in the Eastern Mediterranean, which, according to Cyprus Tourism Organisation, gives a vivid representation of what life was like at the dawn of civilization. They can also see the ancient cities of Kourion or Amathus, the Temple of Apollo and many other sites.
Cyprus’ painted churches, Archaeological Museum, the exquisite floor mosaics of the Roman villas depicting scenes from mythology and the underground Tombs of the Kings nearby are other sites worth visiting.
The ambassador said tourism attractions are only part of what Cyprus has to offer.
The country receives many medical tourists from all over the world every year due to its excellent healthcare system that offers value for money and quality medical treatment at affordable prices, said Papademas.
Available treatments in Cyprus include elective surgery, cardiology, orthopaedic surgery, dentistry, cosmetic and plastic surgery, eye surgery, advanced reproductive technology and climatotherapy treatments.
Education is another field where Papademas would like to see further cooperation between Cyprus and the Sultanate.
“In Cyprus, we have very high-standard, internationally accredited institutions. We offer an opportunity to Omani people who are interested to study in Cyprus,” he said, adding that the island spends more than the EU average on education per capita.