This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.


The ROC’s tourism sector experienced another record-setting year in 2018 with over 3.9 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 7.8 percent over 2017 figures.  Preliminary figures for the first quarter of 2019 are indicative of a decreasing trend.  According to the statistical service, there was a drop of 3.2 percent January through March.  Most sector officials, however, expect similar numbers to last year despite first quarter results.  To assist, the government relaxed former restrictions, which limited the industry’s ability to add capacity.  Moreover, to further strengthen the tourism sector and its infrastructure, Parliament approved the creation of a new Deputy Ministry of Tourism July 10, 2018, which started its operations January 2, 2019.  Its Deputy Minister reports directly to the President of the ROC.  The Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), which previously handled tourism issues, was abolished, and its staff was folded into the new Deputy Ministry.  Before the change, part of the tourism portfolio was handled by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry, and Tourism (MECIT).  With the creation of the new entity, responsibilities were transferred to the new Deputy Ministry and MECIT, now MECI, no longer deals with tourism issues.  Cypriot tourism has earned numerous prestigious awards, including a listing among Global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations.  Although primarily a “sun and sea” destination, Cyprus offers more to the discerning tourist, and Cypriot authorities are trying to further enrich the tourist product by encouraging investment in new sectors such as medical, sports, or wellness tourism.  Cyprus offers many advantages in this area, including a strategic location, expanding air connectivity, mild Mediterranean climate, existing high-standard hospitals and clinics with internationally educated doctors, and pervasive use of the English language.

Leading Sub Sectors and Opportunities

Purchase of Existing Hotels or Other Tourism-Dependent Businesses:
As with other sectors, the financial crisis beginning in 2013 had taken a toll on the tourism industry.  Many tourism-dependent businesses, including several large hotels, were struggling because they were over-leveraged.  Most of these businesses are perfectly viable, albeit with thin profit margins due to relatively high operating costs.  As their owners try to de-leverage, it is likely that some of these businesses will come up for sale over the next two to three years, either as involuntary foreclosures or through voluntary loan restructuring.  Specialized consultancy firms on the island can help identify such prospects although potential investors are well advised to exercise care to avoid properties with questionable title deeds.  

Construction of Greenfield Tourism Projects:
In addition to acquiring existing tourism infrastructure, investors should consider prospects in constructing large, Greenfield tourism projects in the following sub-sectors: marinas and other seafront tourist developments; theme parks; retirement and rehabilitation centers; athletic tourism projects; medical and wellness tourism; and golf courts combined with residential developments.  Non-EU entities interested in constructing large Greenfield development projects in Cyprus must be properly licensed in their country of origin.


Web Resources

Republic of Cyprus Statistical Service data on tourism
Association of Large Investment Projects

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Cyprus Travel and Tourism Trade Development and Promotion