Exclusive Feature:Â Cyprus is a small island located on the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea and the history of this small but beautiful island goes back to the Greek Mythology where it was mentioned as the birthplace of the Greek goddess of Love & Beauty Aphrodite.Â
This small nation island is divided since 1974 as a result of a civil war between the Greeks and the Turks.
The Southern part â€" Republic of Cyprus is a EU member state and the majority of the population is Greek Cypriot Christians â€" about 900,000 i. The self-proclaimed Northern part of the island is the home of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is only recognized by Turkey with a population of around 300,000 (out of which about half â€" 150,000 are Turkish settlers which are not recognized by the South part as Cypriot citizens).
In the past few years, both sides have been holding long in-depth serious re-unification talks, that all parties involved hope will result in an agreement uniting both parts under one government.
Historically, Cyprus has been a favorite holiday destination for Europeans mainly UK as well as Russians. Also some neighboring middle eastern countries â€" namely Israel & Lebanon see Cyprus as a preferred holiday destination (just 30 minutesâ€™ flight from Tel-Aviv & Beirut). There is a well-developed tourism infrastructure supported by 2 international airports, numerous hotels, resorts, holiday homes, marinas as well as a well-developed road infrastructure.
The Northern part of Cyprus is somewhat less developed in terms of tourism infrastructure, however many new hotels were built there in the last 10 years and more projects are currently under construction and in different planning stages.
The Turkish Cypriot side is catering mainly to Turkish nationals that come to enjoy the large number of Casinos. Gambling in Northern Cyprus is legal.
So what is changing?
The Republic of Cyprus is working on a large scale tourism infrastructure project â€" Integrated Casino Resort or in short ICR. This mega-project (Cypriot size) will include hotels, casino, large convention & Conference center as well as a Marina.
The initial estimated investment in the project is forecasted at Euros 500 million and the Cypriot government is offering the winner/s of the tender a BOT under a 30 yearsâ€™ license for the Casino.
Cyprus is somewhat a â€śspecial caseâ€ť when it comes to establishing an Integrated Casino Resort. The according to Horwath research are:
- This would be Cyprusâ€™ first ever legal casino (there has been a long-standing opposition by the Greek Orthodox church against legal gambling)
- The competitive environment in the region makes the development of a Casino in Cyprus very feasible attracting gamblers from Greece, Italy, Israel, Lebanon, The Balkan states, Russia, Ukraine as well as other European countriesâ€ť1
In March 2016 the 3 preferred bidders for the ICR were chosen. Nagacorp Cambodia, The Philippines-based Bloomberry Resorts Corp and a consortium of Melco Macau and Hard Rock Resort Cyprus.2
But thatâ€™s not the only good news for the Cypriot tourism industry. The current political tensions between Russia and Turkey, has made millions of Russian holiday makers look for alternatives for the Antalya beaches.
British and Germans are also actively looking for alternatives due to the increased terror threats for western tourists in Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.as the famous saying goes: â€śsomeone's misfortune is someone elseâ€™s opportunityâ€ť
According to a most recent statement on Bloomberg news made last week, the Cypriot Tourism Minister â€" Georgios Lakkotrypis - is quoted to have said: â€śWe are having, and we will have a fantastic yearâ€ť. He also added: â€śWe need to make sure this growth is sustainableâ€ť.3
If all goes according to estimates and hopes (mind you, it seldom doesâ€¦), the reunification talks will end successfully by the end of this year. In that case, the united Island of Cyprus will enjoy a huge tourism development potential.
I clearly see need for many more internationally branded hotels both in cities and beach resorts, tourism attractions, shopping malls and on the more local level restaurants, bars, nightclubs.
So if you are in development role for a lodging group, I strongly suggest that you pay notice to CYPRUS.
1 -Â horwathhtl.com/2016/04/21/special-market-report-issue-62-cyprus
2 -Â http://cyprus-mail.com/2016/03/15/casino-resort-short-list-confirmed/.
3 -Â http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-10/cyprus-steps-up-infrastructure-projects-to-fuel-tourism-growth
Joseph - Yossi - Fischer the CEO of Vision Hospitality & Travel - international lodging & Travel Solutions
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