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Information on the Tourist Industry

It is general consensus that the healthy climate and natural beauties of Cyprus, as well as its archaeological wealth and the traditional hospitality of its people make the island an ideal holiday destination. Since the independence in 1960, tourism development has been accorded a very high degree of priority by the Cyprus Government.

With the exception of the disruption brought about by the Turkish invasion in 1974, growth in this sector was continuous and rapid, with tourism now constituting one of the major sectors of the Cyprus economy. The Turkish invasion inflicted a serious blow to the tourist industry, with the loss of the Nicosia International Airport, and of 65% of the island's total bed capacity in the two main tourist regions of Famagusta and Kyrenia, totaling about 12.353 beds. As a result of the invasion, tourist arrivals had declined sharply with only 47.085 tourists visiting the island in 1975 as compared to 264.066 in 1973.

However, through the serious efforts exerted by both the Government and the private sector the tourist industry was revitalized and Cyprus was soon re-established on the World Tourist Map. By 1979 tourist arrivals surpassed the pre-invasion levels and in 1999 tourist inflow reached 2.434.285.

By the end of 1999 there were around 85.681 beds operating in licensed establishments, including 48.708 in 1 to 5 star hotels and 26.033 in hotel apartments and 10.423 in other tourist establishments. In addition 2.211 beds were under construction.

The main objectives of the new tourist policy can be summarized as follows:

(a) Improvement and enrichment of the tourist product through the creation and construction of extensive general infrastructural works, such as golf courses, marinas, parks, nature trails, sports facilities and health centers

(b) Restriction in the rate of creation of new bed capacity and encouragement of the up-grading of existing accommodation.

(c) Maintenance of the competitiveness of the Cyprus tourist product.

(d) The development of agrotourism: Incentives for agrotourism are provided through low interest loans for the renovation of village houses and the undertaking of schemes for the improvement of the tourist infrastructure.

Agro-industry, handicrafts, a traditional winery, farming and self-employment schemes are also provided with funds.

(e) Increase in earnings from tourism

The Cyprus Tourism Organization as a statutory body took over responsibility for the development, promotion and marketing and general management of the tourist sector as of January 1, 1971.

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