Tributes have been paid to Stelios Constantinides, described as “the travel trade’s UK ambassador for Cyprus”, after his death last week.
The trade marketing officer worked for the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), which was replaced by the government ministry, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Cyprus, in 2019.
Constantinides was responsible for mainstream trade in the UK and was diagnosed with cancer in May this year. He died on November 20, aged 57.
He had worked for more than two decades at the CTO’s London offices, starting as information officer before becoming the marketing officer.
In that time he became well-known and well-regarded in the travel agency community, hosting fam trips to Cyprus and running workshops and events for the trade in the UK.
Colleagues paid tribute.
Maria Avgousti, who worked with him at the London office, said: “He was my mentor. I am heartbroken. He was hard working and very supportive throughout the 20 years of being colleagues and friends which I’m so thankful for.
“I will miss his sense of humour, smile and his love football and [Greek club] PAOK. It was an honour to have known him.”
Former deputy director Lillian Panagyi remembered Constantinides as a “truly dedicated colleague”.
She said: “His passion for Cyprus was legendary and his commitment to his work was outstanding. Ask any travel agent who had the privilege of joining one of his educationals!
“He always succeeded in getting a great balance between work and play, leaving the agents with the fondest memories of our beautiful island.”
Others credited Constantinides with putting Cyprus on the map for UK agents.
Cyplon Holidays director Tas Anastasi said: “Stelios was one of the nicest people I knew and we were always looking at ways to promote Cyprus together.
“I would go so far as to say that Stelios was the UK’s travel trade ambassador for Cyprus. He will never be forgotten but remembered for putting Cyprus on the map for UK retailers.”
Mathilde Robert, managing director, Planet Holidays and Weddings, said he would be remembered for “doing his very best to promote Cyprus as a year-round destination”.
She added: “All the agents in the UK knew him and remembered him for his enthusiasm and passion for an island that meant a great deal to him not just because this was his job.”
Sophia Buttigieg, sales manager UK & Europe, Thanos Hotels, said: “Stelios was full of fight and hope. He was always there for us, always ready to help and such a true, passionate, determined and caring ambassador for Cyprus.
“Even though there was a serious side to him, I will never forget his ever-present, cheeky sense of humour. “
Darren Eade, who represents a Tenerife resort under the Flexi Reps umbrella, said: “Over nearly 20 years we worked alongside each other and shared many experiences at roadshows, exhibitions, educationals and many more occasions.
“He has kept me company many times after events and into the small hours (Stelios with his obligatory coffee) while we discussed football (especially his beloved POAK) and family.
“He became a close confidant and over the last few years we shared several long conversations about the way forward for tourism in Cyprus which he cared deeply about. Heaven’s gain is our loss. My thoughts are with Emma and the girls.”
Manolis and Anna Mavroulakis, of Greece and Cyprus Travel, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, said: “Stelios was a great guy, both humorous and serious in equal doses. We shared great times in AGTA conferences overseas, fam trips and numerous events in the UK promoting Cyprus.
“What we will always remember on a personal level is every time we met our chats turned quickly from business to football, we were surprised how a Cypriot supported a team from Thessaloniki and he told us stories of the time he spent in the city, showing us pictures of his girls with him, all wearing the strips of PAOK.
“His passing was untimely, our thoughts with his young family. “
Zoe Antoniou, who used to work for Cyprus Airways, said: “My most prominent memories of dear Stelios was when Cyprus Airways shared a stand with the CTO at numerous exhibitions throughout the year.
“He’d always welcome me and my colleagues with a huge smile, followed by a cheeky ‘one liner’. Before the first hour was up of each exhibition, he would gravitate over to our side of the stand and say in a Greek accent, ‘It’s Costaki time!’, meaning, Costa Coffee is calling. That became a ritual for every event we attended. “
Constantinides is survived by wife Emma and three daughters Suzanna, Natalie and Stephanie.