More effort from Cyprus to boost visitor and investor interest

The government and tourism officials in Cyprus are to spend extra money attracting visitors and investors to try to boost the island's property market.

They are targeting their plans at the winter season 2008/09 when the mild weather attracts those who seek a warmer climate.

The Ministry of Tourism, the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation believe that by working together they can put the industry on an upward course.

'We have already spent a lot of time and money and we are beginning to see increasing numbers,' said Akis Kelepeshis, president of the Association. He added that the plans were aimed at not just enticing visitors but property investors too who would enjoy good levels of occupancy all year round.

Certainly travel website lastminute.com says that bookings for June breaks to Cyprus were up 32 per cent on the corresponding period in 2007.

The latest figures show that 2.4 million people visit southern Cyprus each year, bringing in more than €1.7 billion of revenue.

The fact that Cyprus is a former British colony that gained independence in 1960 makes it particularly appealing to British people. The legal system is based on English law, people drive on the left and English is widely spoken.

Other work by the government is expected to help the process. The airport at Paphos is being extended and road infrastructure improvements have been announced.

'The property market in Cyprus is attractive to locals and foreign investors who see it as a stable and low risk investment guaranteed to yield decent returns. The key reason why the property market is so appealing to foreign investors is that it has European systems in place, low taxation and an excellent communication system,' said Trafford Busuttil of Propertyline International.

'The service sector is also highly skilled, polished and professional and extremely hospitable. Cyprus also has an excellent business sector that has become a popular offshore location for investors. The island's economy has been on a steady rise and is once again expected to grow by a decent 3.8 per cent this year,' he added.