The Cyprus Integrated Casino Resort: a brand new chapter for the island’s tourism.
It has been widely communicated that Cyprus is about to license its rst ever fully edged casino. This is a new concept for the Island nation as well as a brand new sector. We examine the situation, try to establish what this really means for the country and what its impact will be on the tourism sector.
The establishment of a large casino in any location has always had a signi cant impact on the surrounding area, and whilst some might debate that its social impact is a negative one, even though there is substantial research that proves otherwise, there is no doubt its impact on the local economy and tourism is both positive and signi cant. In 2015 the Republic of Cyprus has announced a call for Expression Of Interest (EOI) from consortiums that wish to invest in establishing the rst and only Integrated Casino Resort (ICR) on the Island. It has to be said that by looking at the greater picture the government has gone about this the right way. Not only because the EOI process was designed to surface the most diligent, pre-planned and capable of candidates, but also because they made it clear that one of the main objectives of the casino is to help develop Cyprus’s tourism sector, primarily by rendering the construction of a hotel a requirement and by evaluating how the proposed ICR will speci cally address the tourism segment.
Cyprus is a special case when it comes to establishing an ICR for two reasons. One being that this is the first ever fully edged, legal casino for the Island nation and secondly because the competitive environment is sort of a “unique” case. The geographical position of Cyprus makes it a very good location for establishing an ICR. The island is in the crossroads of three continents and has especially good relationships with Europe and the middle east, with the two of them accounting for over 92% of the nations tourism arrivals and marking some of the longest stays. Further than that, in the surrounding international neighborhood there are almost no large casino establishments to bring upon serious competition ,with Loutraki Casino in Greece and Casino du liban in Lebanon being the exceptions. Having said that, smaller casinos have been functioning for many years on the occupied north side of the Island, but are in essence non-regulated, and small in size compared to the proposed ICR for which serious applicants are approaching with investment propositions that will probably surpass half a billion euro in the smallest of cases. Some scenarios even predict that the existence of these smaller casinos could be of bene t to the ICR since they have developed the gaming culture and image of Cyprus as a destination, plus the substantial switching that is expected from a large portion of their recurring clientele.
Considering the above along with the fact that the Republic of Cyprus will now be added on the map as a gaming destination for the rst time, the tourism sector gains through the ICR will be mainly incremental, and of great value.
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