In addressing the annual general meeting of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (A.C.T.A) the President of Cyprus Mr Nicos Anastasiades said that the tourism industry had been of great support to the Cyprus economy during the recent difficult economic times and as such is a great national asset. He announced that the government is conducting a review of the tourism sector with the aim of arriving at a national strategy for the industry to enhance and upgrade tourism to the island which should be completed within six months. He spoke of tourist arrivals figures of 1.45 million between January and July of the current year as being the best on record since 2002. The government plans to reduce bureaucracy and unnecessary costs to tourism products with a package of proposed legislation being submitted to parliament by the end of 2015. The aspects of seasonality and diversification as well as the quality of the tourism being offered will all be addressed. Proposals for the new casino resort are now being submitted and when operating it is expected to attract large numbers of quality tourists specifically in connection with the high class casino facilities. Forecasts of the increase in tourists vary as being between half a million to one million. Several major players in the casino operating world have expressed interest including the following companies, MGM, Caesars, Malaysian and Macao.
In the meantime, in order to fulfil the need for trained personnel for the casino project, training courses are being offered by the Nicosia University and Intercollege. As the casino will be open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week it is reported that over 1000 jobs will be created to staff the project with the emphasis being on recruiting local Cypriots rather than from abroad. Employment opportunities will be on offer for specialist casino managers, croupiers, managers for the slot machine sections as well as attendants in this area and machine technicians. An important area of employment will be in security and surveillance working both inside and outside the casino. Naturally all staff will be security screened on an ongoing basis to exclude anybody with a criminal record.
In the same speech to A.C.T.A. the president also announced additional flights between Brussels and Larnaca. Other projects in the pipeline aimed at upgrading tourism in Cyprus include the completion of the passenger terminal at Limassol Harbour by February 2016 and the start of construction on the Ayia Napa Marina complex either at the current year end or early 2016.
Sources: www.i-cyprus.com, www.cyprus-mail.com.
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