The tourism industry in Cyprus has received a fresh impetus from the Middle East with a huge injection of cash from Qatar for a multi-million dollar tourism development. This was announced at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market by Antonis Paschalides, Cyprus’ Minister of Trade, Commerce and Tourism.
A 50:50 joint venture has been established to create a property investment fund that will develop the state-owned land opposite the Hilton Hotel in the capital Nicosia.
Qatar’s Diar Real Estate Investment Company will invest $150 million (AED 551 million) in this new joint venture and the Cyprus government will contribute the land on which the complex will be built. The area allocated for the complex is close to the commercial hub of Nicosia.
The two countries Cyprus and Qatar hold an equal stake in the 55,000 square-meter (592,020 square foot) tourism complex. Upon completion, the project will include a 5-Star hotel, luxury residential villas and apartments, retail space and office buildings. It is destined to become a major tourist destination, aimed at sophisticated investors and tourists from around the globe.
“This major tourism development underscores the strong relationships that exist between Cyprus and the Middle East countries and clearly underlines the confidence in Cyprus’ economy which has remained relatively unscathed from the global economic crisis,” Paschalides said. He noted that this deal has helped restore investor confidence in the Cyprus market and some property developers are developing new marketing strategies in the hope of attracting a more up-market overseas buyers. Luxury developments are now being aimed at wealthier buyers in the Middle East.
Highlighting Cyprus’s attractiveness for Middle East visitors, Vassilis Theocharides Director, Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) Middle East & Arabian Gulf Office said, “Even if you’ve been to Cyprus before, there’s always a new world to discover. Cyprus lies at the crossroads of three continents, where East meets West and a new experience awaits the visitor under the sun every day. Where Championship Golf courses, inviting beaches, and breathtaking mountain trails lie around luxurious hotels and the cuisine is among the finest in the world.”
Cyprus, one of the smallest members of the euro zone, is heavily reliant on tourism, banking and real estate. It has well-developed tourism infrastructure along its coastline, and is developing luxury hotels in Nicosia, located in the centre of the island.
“Tourism arrivals to Cyprus from the Middle East rose by 9.5% percent from January to March 2010 year on year denoting strong growth. Tourism accounts for around 11 percent of Cyprus's gross domestic product,” Mr. Theocharides concluded.
CTO has mounted a strong presence at the Arabian Travel Market with a 25-strong delegation comprising senior public and private sector officials from comprising leading players from Cyprus’s hospitality industry led by HE Paschalides. CTO’s 100 M2 stand at this year’s event is designed to provide co-participants with an ideal networking platform to showcase Cyprus as an attractive tourist destination.