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Minister presents ambitious post-pandemic tourism sector

Sporting events such as L’Étape by Tour de France – providing amateur riders with the closest experience to riding a mountainous stage of the Tour de France – will for the first time be staged in Cyprus in 2022
Strong focus on special interest and ‘authentic’ experiences

By Evie Andreou

The deputy tourism ministry has spent the last 18 months of the pandemic ‘repurposing’ the industry, minister Savvas Perdios said on Monday.

Cyprus, he said, now has a vast array of authentic experiences visitors can enjoy and his ministry’s ultimate goal is for the island to rank among the 30 most competitive tourism destinations in the world, by the end of the decade. It currently ranks 44th.

He pointed to the money spent on biking and hiking facilities which has meant that sporting events such as L’Étape by Tour de France – providing amateur riders with the closest experience to riding a mountainous stage of the Tour de France – will for the first time be staged between 2022 and 2024 starting this November.

Cyprus will also stage the DP World Golf Tour between 2022 and 2024, an event watched by around 500 million people around the world.

Perdios explained that his ministry has been working “incessantly” during the past 18 months, during the pandemic, to create the improved tourism products which will become the focal point of Cyprus’ new identity.

This vision, he added, rests on five key pillars aiming to establish Cyprus as a year-round destination, a higher-quality destination, a digitally smart destination, a climate-friendly destination and a place where all residents can benefit from tourism.

The deputy minister also announced that the biggest cruise line in the world, Royal Caribbean International will continue their presence in Cyprus this year and the next.

He also referred to the integrated casino resort, which, he said, is to open this summer. He said the casino resort will contribute not only to the entertainment sector but will offer Michelin star restaurants.

He also said that his ministry’s primary focus has been on rural tourism integration with special focus on a green and digital transition to support local communities.

Towards that goal, he said, they were drafting a law to allow overnight stays in farms and wineries, expressing hope it will be passed this year. He also said that other bills being prepared concerned improving the quality of camping and glamping sites, allowing home production of Cyprus delicacies, and setting up fully sponsored handicraft workshops in rural and mountain areas.

A lot of money has been spent upgrading villages and small towns, and, as a result, the village of Pano Lefkara has just been voted as one of the Best Tourism Villages in the world by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), he said. Agros is due to receive the same award if UNWTO-suggested improvements are carried out.


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