Tourism has traditionally been a major source of income and a driver of economic growth in Cyprus, with a significant contribution to the country’s GDP. Being one of Cyprus’ most resilient and strong economic sectors, tourism continuously experiences substantial growth, translated into a number of more than 2.5m tourists visiting Cyprus every year.
Cyprus is well known for the hospitality of its people, its delicious gastronomy, its rich culture and extraordinary natural beauty. With its golden sandy beaches and clear blue waters, as well as its pleasant Mediterranean climate with year-round sunshine, Cyprus has been a popular tourist destination for decades. The island’s famous beaches have been awarded with 57 Blue Flags in 2015, ranking the island first in the EU for the tenth consecutive year, including three records:
- most Blue Flags per capita in the world
- most dense concentration of Blue Flag Beaches
- most Blue Flag beaches per coastline
Cyprus’ tourism industry has gained several prestigious awards, including the Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100, VISION on Sustainable Tourism and Totem Tourism and Green Destination titles presented to Limassol and Paphos in 2014.
But there is much more to Cyprus than just sun and sea. Cosmopolitan and culturally rich, Cyprus offers a variety of tourism options that cater to all tastes and desires, whether it be sports, historical and cultural attractions, luxury resorts, wine routes, nature trails and ecotourism in traditional villages.
The island has all the prerequisites to further develop this industry and offers great potential for investments in niche areas such as Health & Wellness, Sports, Luxury and Lifestyle tourism.
Enhancing and diversifying the tourism product is one of the primary objectives of the Government and the relevant authorities, which aims to achieve high value–added tourism from traditional as well as emerging tourism markets. Extending seasonality and improving connectivity is right at the heart of the government’s tourism policy, continuously striving to maximise the island’s potential, preserving and showcasing Cyprus’ local cultural treasures, improving existing infrastructure and the quality of services offered, whilst promoting the advancement of new tourism sub-sectors, such as religious and cultural tourism, sports tourism and health and wellness tourism.
Large-scale development projects
A number of large-scale development projects, such as leisure & theme parks, luxury resorts, marinas, tourism resorts and golf courses are underway, attracting significant levels of foreign investment. Tourism is also now gaining momentum with the creation of a single Integrated Casino Resort, a landmark attraction that will add value to the island’s tourism product. The new casino aspires to becoming the leading Integrated Casino Resort in Europe and amongst the best in the world, exceeding five-star requirements and offering numerous leisure services such as hotels, spas and conference centres. Moreover, following the success of the Limassol Marina, new luxury marinas are also in the pipeline for Larnaca, Ayia Napa, Paralimni and Paphos.
Health and Wellness Tourism
Another sub-sector under development is health and wellness tourism, which is a fast-developing industry that combines medical & wellness treatment with rehabilitation and holiday options. The country already fulfils a number of important criteria, such as an accessible location, a mild Mediterranean climate all year round, an existing network of high-qualityhospitals and clinics, luxury resorts and existing tourism infrastructure, a multilingual, skilled workforce, as well as the expertise of internationally educated doctors.
Cyprus offers world-class reputation for high-quality private health care in a technologically advanced environment, with 6 public hospitals and approximately 80 private clinics. Following the introduction of the EU Directive on Cross Border Healthcare in 2013, EU citizens are free to choose between a variety of healthcare solutions and treatment abroad, thus opening up further possibilities for Health and Wellness Tourism in Cyprus.
Cyprus sees record-breaking arrivals every year (over 3 million tourists visited Cyprus in 2016) and with new projects on the way, aims at further enriching its product and maintaining its position as a leading tourism destination in the world.