Let the Poles in-Cyprus looking to attract more than half a million tourists, as Warsaw warms up to closer relations

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Sometimes not taken seriously enough, on other occasions being thought of as ‘soft’, or cast slightly on the wayside, be it what you will, but tourist diplomacy, is highly important business when it comes to the bilaterals of two countries and can, if utilised in a holistic, people-centred manner and supported accordingly, be a game changer for such tourist and service destinations as Cyprus, opening up many other fields of cooperation too.

In this case, it involves Poland and Cyprus, at some geographical distance, but increasingly tucking up to each other, particularly over the past five years, in a commercial and financial direction, as investments are on the rise, Poland is lapping up 70% of our halloumi and tourism is skyrocketing. The Poles are enjoying the hospitality, culture and sunshine of the island in a big way-the only way is up- and as the President of Poland Andrezj Duda said on Thursday, following talks in Warsaw with President Christodoulides, ‘they feel welcome and safe in Cyprus, a country of amazing history’.

More than 300 thousand Poles are expected here over the summer season and Nicos Christodoulides set a realistic target, as he called it, of raising that number to more than a half a million over the next couple of years.

As Brexit has brought down British numbers-with Cyprus remaining the top tourist destination for the UK mind you, and Israelis, 2nd on the list, gradually returning albeit not with the same pace-due to the Gaza war, Poland will be clearly taking third spot of arrivals and if the trend continues, might even be climbing to 2nd, as good news of destinations ‘travel’ fast (pun intended). That, along with Polish major commercial players and upper middle class people buying up property on the island and setting up company headquarters in Cyprus, it could be a mix of business and pleasure, bringing more and more Eastern Europeans to our shores.

Poland also has the longest running archaeological mission on the island, based in Paphos, with experts, mostly from Warsaw and Krakow universities, recently acquiring a building in the coastal city for their work, with the assistance of Cypriot authorities, which seemingly cut through the red tape.

So, they not only know our history, they’ve unearthed it too. In a big way. And they love halloumi. As a Polish government source told me, ‘give us any cheese and we’ll buy it all’. Enough said. Let the Poles in.

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