Melco Resorts & Entertainment, the operator of the Republic of Cyprus’ first casino, welcomed the recently approved creation of a Junior Ministry of Tourism that will look to further improve the state of the tiny Mediterranean nation’s tourism industry.
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Hong Kong-based Melco and its Cypriot partner CNS Group are currently building the €550-million City of Dreams Mediterranean integrated resort in Limassol. A temporary casino opened doors in the city late last month. The facility, located not far from the main resort’s construction site, will remain operational until the larger property is completed and launched in 2021.
The Cypriot government approved earlier this week the establishment of a Junior Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry will be led by a Junior Tourism Minister and will take over from the Ministry of Commerce, which is currently overseeing the island nation’s tourism industry, from January 2, 2019.
As a result from the creation of the new Ministry, the state-run Cyprus Tourism Organization will be disbanded. Its staff will be transferred to the newly created Tourism Ministry. The entity will be charged with presenting ways for increasing tourism arrivals, improving the quality of service, and combating seasonality.
According to official statistics, Cyprus registered a record number of 3,652,073 international visits last year. The UK, Russia, and Israel were the island nation’s primary markets with 1,253,839, 824,494, and 261,966 arrivals from these countries. However, the summer months have traditionally been the most preferred time for travel to Cyprus, a trend the country’s tourism industry has been trying to put an end to for quite some time.
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Melco Welcomes New Tourism Ministry
Commenting on the establishment of the new Ministry, City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos President Craig Ballantyne said in a statement quoted by Cyprus Mail that the goals set before the new entity are aligned with Melco’s efforts to provide “top quality hospitality and entertainment” and to transform the island nation into a year-round destination.
Mr. Ballantyne revealed earlier this week that Cyprus Casino or C2, as the temporary casino has been branded, welcomed 7,000 unique visitors during its first days of operation in Limassol. However, the official pointed out that the facility operates in a tough environment, as it has to compete with established casino businesses in North Cyprus as well as with illegal casino operations spread across the Republic of Cyprus.
Mr. Ballantyne stressed that they are well-aware of the fact their main resort and the non-gaming operations that will accompany the gaming ones will be the key to a long-term success of Melco’s City of Dreams Mediterranean. As mentioned above, the main resort is slated to open doors in 2021.
Apart from the larger complex, Melco will also operate satellite casinos in the capital Nicosia, Larnaca, Paphos, and Ayia Napa. The four facilities will be rolled out gradually within the next year and a half, with the first two of them anticipated to assume operations in the coming months.