IT MAY sound like the stuff of pure fantasy, but several leading British travel companies think UFO spotting could prove to be a money-spinning tourist attraction for Cyprus.
The unusual new marketing offensive has prompted Jet 2, Late Deals and airflights.co.uk all attempt to lure UFO hunters via a series of press releases.
Experts say Cyprus is experiencing a concentrated period of sightings, with countless reports of strange lights in the sky.
“It is an area of growth. We have actually had a few enquiries about the UFOs over the months. Holidaymakers want to know the best time of year to spot one,” says Calum MacDonald of holiday consultants Latedeals.co.uk.
Nick Pope the former UFO investigator for the British Ministry of Defence told the Cyprus Mail that such tourism initiatives had proved beneficial in other countries.
“UFO tourism is a fascinating possibility and there are some previous examples. Many people believe a UFO crashed in Roswell, in America, in 1947. Nowadays the town has a UFO museum, conferences and a city parade where everyone dresses up as aliens. It's a huge tourist attraction.
“In the UK, tourists come to the parts of the country where crop circles appear. If Cyprus is currently a UFO hot-spot, tourists may come to see if they can have their own sighting. It could turn out to be an out-of-this-world holiday,” Pope added.
Despite the laughable factor, there is a strong case to be made, with Scotland, Chile and parts of Nevada - the famous Area 51 - all investing in specially designated ‘UFO spotting zones’.
Suggestions by local enthusiasts for adapting UFO tourism include a visitor’s centre in Troodos, which would exhibit photographs, accounts and details of extra-terrestrial incidents recorded in Cyprus.
Locals in Chile have reported so many UFO sightings during the past two decades that on local official is declaring his Maipo River region just outside the capital of Santiago an official UFO tourism zone.
There are plans to erect two observation centres, place signs where there have been sightings and offer workshops on, among other topics, how best to photograph alien visitors.
The Scottish town of Bonnybridge has also cashed in on the UFO boom after recently been dubbed the UFO capital of the world. Dozens of unexplained sightings have been recorded in the area, which attracts visitors from across the globe.
Troodos and the east coast are the undisputed epicentres of significant sightings, with yet another bizarre close encounter by British military personnel having been published recently describing an incident near Dhekelia in 1971.
An unnamed soldier, who provided photographic evidence of the incident recalled, “Everybody on the exercise, about 1400 men, saw the light, which was extremely bright and when I’m talking about extremely bright, I’ve never seen anything as bright in my life.”
Increasing number of accounts of UFO encounters are being published online, especially by former servicemen and pilots.
Copyright: Cyprus Mail