Cyprus: a Place of Great Diversity, where the Latest Trends Meet the Oldest Traditions
by Aristos Constantine
The Cyprus tourism industry is playing a leading role in propelling the country back to prosperity. Income from tourism accounts for around 12 percent of Cyprus’s GDP, and can be credited for ensuring Cyprus did not suffer a prolonged recession post-bailout as was first feared. Moreover, the government has proactively taken steps to strengthen the sectors appeal, sweeping away red tape and enacting legislation to attract large-scale international investment.
The newly approved legislation for state-of-the-art casino developments offers particularly exciting investment potential. Legislation has been passed to award the first casino licenses and plans are underway to develop a casino resort to include other leisure services such as hotels, spas and conference centers.
Another potential game changer for the sector has been the recent deal with the Buena Vista Hospitality Group. A leading player in the world of hospitality and golf management, Buena Vista is about to construct Europe’s largest integrated sports, health and wellness resort on the outskirts of the village of Kalavasos, not far from Limassol. The company will also base its regional headquarters for the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and Balkans on the island.
In addition, Cyprus is steadily gaining a reputation as a preferred international conference destination. Thanks to its ideal location at the crossroads of three continents, its excellent facilities, trained personnel and first-class communications systems, more and more businesses and international organizations are choosing Cyprus to host meetings and conferences.
While the island may be best known for its exquisite Mediterranean beaches, it is the “something-for everyone” diversity that Cyprus offers that is at the core of its unwavering appeal to tourists from around the world. Visitors can delight in both, alluring beaches and fragrant mountain peaks, visit vineyards studded with olive trees and ancient ruins steeped in history that stir the imagination.
Her beaches have ranked the No1 and No3 in the Top 10 Best Beaches of Europe and the cleanest water in Europe, with all of its sites rated excellent. But Cyprus’ pristine waters attract more than just beach lovers, with one of the five most popular dive sites in the world, an estimated 50,000 divers visit the island each year.
Cyprus is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world with a wine culture that goes back millennia – making it the perfect place to tour vineyards and wineries. Attracting both wine aficionados and amateur wine lovers alike, exploring the wine routes of Cyprus is an unforgettable experience.
Golf tourism is also expanding rapidly. Cyprus boasts four 18-hole international standard courses and there are plans to construct an additional seven in the future. Other developing areas include health and wellbeing holidays, with the recent creation of several exclusive spa hotels to pamper the visitor. Medical tourism is experiencing unprecedented growth, due to Cyprus’ world-class reputation for high-quality private health care in a technologically advanced environment.
The island is a place of great diversity and balance where the latest trends meet the oldest traditions, and where investing and business opportunities are as appealing as its natural beauty.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis Cyprus tourism has proved to be one of the most resilient of the island’s commercial sectors and will continue to be an integral and important part of our economy.
Aristos Constantine is Trade Commissioner at the Cyprus Embassy Trade Center – NY.