11 February 2021
Cyprus has made “significant” progress towards in attracting foreign direct investment into its tourism and hospitality sector, but more investment is needed in key areas, a conference was told.
Despite the pandemic, several large-scale projects on the island are forging ahead, including the construction of Europe’s largest integrated casino resort, the City of Dreams Mediterranean, five luxury marinas representing almost 2 billion euros investments, golf resorts and other large-scale mixed-use developments. Cyprus’s National Tourism Strategy 2017-2030 targets multi-billion euros of foreign direct investment into tourism and hospitality sector in Cyprus.
Speaking at the 5th International Investors Summit in Nicosia, Christophe de Bruyn, CEO of THR Innovative Tourism Advisors, which is working with Invest Cyprus to make the island a leading tourism and hospitality investment destination, said that high visitor numbers, notably from high end travellers looking for “premium destinations” was driving the investment.
“Even with the negative impact of Covid-19 on tourism arrivals in the short-term, long-term prospects remain positive for Cyprus. Total arrivals nearly doubled in a 5-year period, reaching 3.98 million in 2019. This was 12 per cent above target, so we have clear evidence of strong and increasing demand. A full recovery of pre-Covid numbers are expected in 2023, and with stable growth, visitor numbers could rise to 6.6m by 2030,” he said.
“When the City of Dreams Mediterranean is completed in 2023, it is estimated to attract around 1 million visitors to Cyprus per annum and create 4000 new jobs. Despite the strong impact inflicted by the pandemic, it is very positive to see that many investments in hotels remain in the pipeline and, while timetables might have changed, there are currently 16 new hotels planned for 2020 and 2021.”
To reach its ambitious targets, however, Cyprus needs to diversify its traditional “sun and sand” offer into an all-year round destination, focusing on areas such as health tourism and wellness centres and local experience holidays, including horse-back riding, wine-tasting, agritourism and theme parks.
Stephanie Panayi, Head of Strategic Projects at Invest Cyprus, the national investment promotion agency, added that global brands like Hyatt and Marriott that operate on Cyprus currently represent only around 3% percent of total rooms, providing an opportunity for investors to exploit a gap in the market for high-quality hospitality. “At Invest Cyprus we have introduced an one-stop shop for investment funds, private equity and family offices to support the landing of high value investments into projects that align with key government strategies, including tourism and hospitality”, she added.
Speaking on the impact of the pandemic on the local tourism industry, Thanos Michaelides, CEO of Thanos Hotels & Resorts, said: “If anything goes as planned with the vaccinations, then Q4 will go better than the previous periods. Tourism globally is a very steadily growing market and we have seen an exponential growth trend globally throughout the years. As far as Cyprus is concerned, the pandemic has brought changes that are happening much faster. Cyprus tourism has an over-dependence on large tour operators and that has caused a lot of problems. At the same time, we will see more individual travelers, something which we expected but has been brought forward. Changes in both the supply chain and demand will evolve in the short term, and it will be a challenge for us to adapt as quickly as possible to the new model.”
The International Investor Summit, hosted as an online conference by Invest Cyprus, attracted over 500 delegates from 25 countries, reflecting the interest in Cyprus.
Notes to Editors:
For further information, please contact Arilena Constantinou at Invest Cyprus at [email protected].
About Invest Cyprus
Invest Cyprus (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency) is the investment promotion agency of the Government of Cyprus, dedicated to attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into the country. In close collaboration with all governmental authorities and public institutions, as well as the private sector, Invest Cyprus is the country’s lead agent in establishing Cyprus as a world-class investment destination. Invest Cyprus has launched Tour Invest, a dedicated and specialized unit, which lists all the available projects for investment in the tourism and hospitality sector.