With Record Tourism, Cyprus Finally Has Tourism Ministry

FILE - People ride aboard a tourist wheel in the Christmas Lunapark in the capital Nicosia, in this eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA – Its once-teetering economy saved with the help of record runs of foreign visitors, Cyprus has set up a Tourism Ministry to concentrate solely on the sector that had been folded into an agency also handling energy, commerce and industry.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Jan. 2 was to swear in Savvas Perdios as the country’s first-ever dedicated Deputy Minister for Tourism to oversee plans to keep people coming and spending, with tourism helping restore the island’s finances.

“We’ve demanded the creation of a tourism ministry for decades given its importance for the economy,” said Harris Loizides, President of the Cyprus Hotel Association, the financial news agency Bloomberg said.

“The new ministry will have to tackle many issues including new legislation for the classification of hotels and implementing the country’s new tourism strategy,” he said, with visitors lured by sun, beaches and amenities.

Travel and tourism accounted for 22.3 percent of Cypriot economic output in 2017, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council. Revenue from tourism rose 2.3 percent in the first nine months of 2018 to 2.27 billion euros ($2.6 billion).

With Cypriot constitutional constraints on the permitted number of ministries the new office will technically be called a Deputy Ministry but will also assume all the responsibilities of the Cyprus Tourism Organization that will be closed down.

Perdios, formerly Chief Operations Officer at Louis Hotels, which manages 25 mainly resort properties in Cyprus and Greece, studied finance and accounting at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom as well as international hospitality management at the Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland.

The new deputy ministry will implement Cyprus’s national tourism strategy with the necessary horizontal policies, tourism development planning and wider political supervision of the sector, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said.

Perdios takes over as Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho’s Melco International has set up temporary casinos and is building the City of Dreams Mediterranean casino that is due to open in 2021 and expected to bring in as many as 300,000 tourists annually.