The cabinet on Wednesday approved the subsidy plan for the revival of rural and mountain areas with the aim of enriching and upgrading the tourist product in these areas, it said.

A statement released by government spokesperson Niovi Parisiniou following the cabinet meeting said the subsidy plan will cover the refurbishment of old buildings in rural and mountain areas in order to make them suitable to host workshops and special events for local and foreign visitors.

Another key point of the plan is the development of alternative forms of tourism in the areas, such as religious tourism. Facilities for outdoor activities, such as rock climbing and cycling, will also be upgraded or built thanks to the subsidy plan.

The total budget allocated to the plan will amount to €2,050,000, of which €1,537,500 will be disbursed in 2022.

Individual grants will be limited to a maximum of €200,000 per application. People living in rural areas will be able to receive a subsidy corresponding to 65 per cent of the grant, whereas for those living in mountainous and remote areas, the sum will rise to 75 per cent.

The approved grants for local authorities will cover 100 per cent of the applications, with a maximum cap of €65,000.

Speaking after the details of the subsidy plans were released, the deputy minister of tourism Savvas Perdios said it could last for three or four years, depending on the funds’ availability.

“For the first time ever in Cyprus, there is a government plan aimed at improving the visitors’ experiences in mountain and rural areas, as well as in remote villages.

“More buildings and repaved roads are simply not enough anymore,” he said.

Finally, Perdios added that the newly announced plan will aid another government initiative launched last September and called “Heartland of Legends”, aimed at promoting Cyprus’ cultural heritage by developing tourism in rural and mountainous areas of the island.