Cyprus is not just a sun and sea destination but it also offers many other authentic experiences visitors can choose from, including sports events such as L` Étape by Tour de France, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdios, said on Monday during an event to present his ministry’s work on repurposing the country’s tourism.

The minister explained that his ministry has been working “incessantly” during the past 18 months, during the pandemic, to create the tourism products presented today, which will become the focal point of Cyprus’ new identity going forward.

He explained that they used the term ‘repurposing’ that has a deeper meaning and points to a more holistic approach to tourism. “It urges us to rethink not only the way we promote the destination, but also the way we treat it, how much we take out of it, and how we can give back to it,” he said.

Cyprus, he said, has a vast array of authentic experiences visitors can enjoy according to their interests. He said that ultimately, the goal is for Cyprus to rank among the 30 most competitive tourism destinations in the world, by the end of the decade. It currently ranks 44th.

This vision, he added, rests on five key pillars aiming to establish Cyprus as a year-round destination, a higher-quality destination, a digitally-smart destination, a climate-friendly destination and a place where all residents can benefit from tourism.

Perdios said a lot of money was spent in the last 18 months on infrastructure improvements especially with regards to special interest tourism including on biking and hiking facilities. He announced that Cyprus, will, for the first time be staging L’ Etape by Tour de France cycling tournament between 2022 and 2024 starting this November. He pointed out that this was important for this special segment of tourism. L` Étape Cyprus by Tour de France provides amateur riders with the closest experience to riding a mountainous stage of the Tour de France.

He also said that Cyprus will be staging the DP World Golf Tour between 2022 and 2024, an event watched by around 500 million people around the world.

The Deputy Minister also announced that the biggest cruise line in the world, Royal Caribbean International will continue their presence in Cyprus this year and the next, adding that the company will be making its own announcements in due time.

Perdios also presented the current tourist trends and preferences, which include forms of tourism that focus on avoiding overcrowding, green tourism, the combination of work and travel, immersive experiences, engagement with the local community and more. He said that these trends were aligned with the National Tourism Strategy 2030, which had foreseen the need to invest in the upgrade and enrichment of the tourism product.

He also referred to the integrated casino resort, which, he said, is to open this summer. He said the casino resort will contribute not only to the entertainment aspect, but it is a place where there will be Michelin star restaurants.

He also said that his ministry’s primary focus has been on rural tourism integration with special focus on a green and digital transition to support local communities. Towards that goal, he said, they were drafting a law to allow overnight stays in farms and wineries, expressing hope it will be passed this year. He also said that other bills being prepared concerned improving the quality of camping and glamping sites, allowing home production of Cyprus delicacies, and setting up fully sponsored handicraft workshops in rural and mountain areas.

Perdios also said a lot of money was spent upgrading villages and small towns, and, as a result, the village of Pano Lefkara has just been voted as one of the Best Tourism Villages in the world by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The village of Agros is to be awarded this year as well if some improvements are made on aspects the UNWTO has pointed out, he added.

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