Cyprus is betting on casinos to boost the nation’s tourism. Casino News Daily reports that Savvas Perdios, the first minister for tourism of the Mediterranean island country, gave remarks on the importance of Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s upcoming casino there.
The minister met with Melco’s CEO Lawrence Ho on January 24. After the meeting, Perdios commented that Melco is “an important contributor” to tourism for the country, and would confirm them as a “popular and must-visit destination.”
Melco’s CEO was similarly complimentary. He said of the country, “[Cyprus] has all the prerequisites to enhance its reputation as a regional and global premium destination.” He believes it will “emerge as a genuine point of reference for luxury tourism and responsible gaming.”
Cyprus’ only casino license was granted to Melco, in partnership with Cyprus Phassouri in 2016. The license grants them a main resort in Limassol, the second largest city in Cyprus and a tourist draw in its own right, and four satellite casinos around the island.
They then added their first satellite Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, in early December. This was followed quickly by a second satellite opening in Larnaca, the third largest city in the country and a popular beach spot.
The final two satellites are planned for Paphos, a city rich in ancient sightseeing attractions on the southwest coast, and Ayia Napa, a southeast resort town.
Melco understands that building in Cyprus isn’t only about the tourism, as 84% of their customers have been local. To play up the added benefit to local society, they’ve been keen to stress that their casinos will “significantly contribute to the efforts of the Cypriot government to combat illegal gaming.”
Construction on the main report in Limassol is expected to continue next month. It is being advertised as Europe’s largest integrated resort when it will open in 2021.