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Tourism ministry in push to promote ‘authentic’ Cyprus

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Cyprus continues to press ahead with efforts to distance itself from “tacky tourism”, as the deputy tourism ministry announced a further funding boost for authentic hospitality venues.

The €8m will go to traditional restaurants and shops selling local food products, via funds made available by the EU’s recovery and resilience plan.

That chimes with the deputy ministry’s long-standing efforts to wean the island off youngsters seeking cheap boozy beach parties, instead aiming to attract higher spenders interested in a wider array of activities.

The latest move – titled ‘sponsorship plan for upgrading traditional hospitality venues or sellers of traditional food products’ – was approved on Wednesday by the cabinet and provides for a €200,000 grant per beneficiary, on a first-come-first served basis.

Notably, the funding will exclude the purchase of items such as plastic chairs and will instead favour renovating or building traditional ovens and flower beds.

The first instalments are due by the end of the month or the beginning of May, with €4m available for 2022 and 2023 – while further announcements will detail the fate of the rest of the funding.

Enhancing the authenticity of Cypriot cuisine, aesthetic upgrades, adopting digital means and ‘green transition’ are the main aims of the plan, according to deputy minister Savvas Perdios.

Those eligible for the funding will be existing licensed tavernas or restaurants – operating either within a hotel unit or not – while shops selling traditional products are eligible regardless of whether they are older established businesses or new.

“The reason we chose to include shops in the plan is because they can greatly boost the local economy, the farmers, the producers and can definitely enhance the experience that someone will come across in our villages,” the minister said on Thursday.

Key preconditions for such businesses are that they offer proven Cypriot products, Perdios said, adding that it will grant them the opportunity to obtain the Taste Cyprus certificate.

He explained that the funding will cover 50 per cent of total expenditure, rising to 65 per cent in mountain communities and 75 per cent in remote areas.

The funding also provides for businesses to set up muti-lingual websites which will facilitate online reservations and deliveries.

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