The Minister of Interior, Konstantinos Petrides, will meet with the hoteliers’ associations on Friday, August 4th, among other things, to assess the efficiency of the government’s incentives to raise tourist beds in Cyprus and the prospects for further increasing the tourist flow towards the island in a more uniform way, taking advantage not only of the “sun and sea”, the coastal Cyprus, but also the tourist flow towards the Cypriot mountain.
In his today’s statements on national television, the Petrides said that the government is always moving in full cooperation with the hoteliers’ associations and it is no coincidence that this year Cyprus is experiencing a record of tourists arrivals. “One of the reasons for this success”, he added, “is because we can host them. Through the town-planning incentives announced by the President of the Republic, more than 11 to 12 thousand new beds have been created. And these, especially during the summer months, are full. There are other projects underway, in which we want to see where problems exist, we see each case separately to try to help. At the moment, there is too much work in the various departments of the Ministry of Interior, especially in Urban Planning, both because of the development projects that have been traversed and there are too many and because of the projects and developments by individuals and hotels. We are trying to see how we can help actors that express areas in the economy. It is in this context that the meeting of the coming Friday will be held”.
Responding to a question, whether this meeting will be a conference that will make permanent the incentives that have worked positively, the minister said: “It is more of a meeting to look at specific issues that arise from investments, developments, delays, etc. It is a continuous process. But, we will also see policy issues. Every few months we meet, we review our policy, it is a policy that actually worked and has a developmental complexion. We see ourselves as absolute partners of the private sector and especially the tourism industry and we try to help them”.
Responding to another question as to whether new tourist beds will be created, Petrides said there are requests and that Cyprus’s prospects in this area are much greater. “We have to see it,” he added, “at a horizon of fifteen years. We are in cooperation with the hoteliers’ associations but always in the context of a modern urban design that may also relieve some very concentrated tourist areas with the creation of some others. We see all of this. But, at a depth of fifteen years, there will be need for thousands additional beds, if of course we go through with other reforms in the tourism sector that concern: urban planning, hotel classification, which generally upgrade our tourist product”.
To another question, if he expects this modern urban planning in early 2018, the minister said the following: “Urban planning is always being revised. But it should also be reviewed in the context of the broader tourism industry study, which I understand the Department of Commerce is ready to start consultation on this strategy. The study is ready and will be consulted to translate into a policy context”.
In responce to another question about the prospects of make the planning on the grounds that in the future there will be 6 million tourists a year in Cyprus, Petrides said yes, they have to move in that direction. Indeed, he added, studies show that we must have an even more environmentally sustainable model of tourism development, even with more tourists. And it’s not just the issue of the number but also the expenditure per capita, which may need to be improved significantly”.
Finally, answering a question on the issue of decentralization of tourist beds, as 40% of these beds are currently in the free Famagusta area, the Minister said: “I can not present a specific plan at this time. This overconcentration exists due to the one-dimensional product, the sun and the sea. There must be a differentiation of the product, so that appropriate infrastructure can be created in the mountains as well. We have beautiful nature and beautiful geology in mountainous areas, where large and mild developments could be made depending on the area. Agrotourism, with a more centralized holistic way of management, cultural tourism, religious tourism, etc. (We are talking about) a new tourist Cyprus. We need to look at other forms of tourism for the benefit of all. Even the casino is within that framework. It is a completely different form of tourism. They are all those things that the study indicates, which we will soon announce”./IBNA