Cyprus: Island update

Investment in the island's infrastructure has stepped up, with a huge number of government and privately backed projects scheduled over the next few years.

This includes the redevelopment of the marinas in Cyprus' three main coastal resorts: Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. Athena Theodorou, tourism officer at Cyprus Tourism Organisation's (CTO) planning department, says this will see the addition of new hotels, restaurants and entertainment plazas on the island's main waterfronts. The CTO wants hotels to invest in the marina projects, and expects two new hotels to be built on each marina, potentially bringing six new luxury properties to the island.

Cyprus is also looking to position itself as a major golf destination. It has three golf courses, but Theodorou says there are plans for at least 13 additional ones to be constructed.

There is also a new convention centre planned for Limassol for 2010 in a bid to boost the island's capacity for large events. "We're working on a location study for the Limassol convention centre. There is government commitment to support the project, we just need to agree on the site," Theodorou says. She adds that the capacity will be around 2,000 delegates.

Transport and accessibility is also being improved, with the new highway from Larnaca to Paphos recently having been completed, reducing transfer times across the island.

Meanwhile, a EUR650m upgrade of Larnaca and Paphos airports has started, and represents Cyprus's first Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project. French-led group Hermes Airports, which won the tender, is to build new passenger terminals and extend the runways at both airports under a 25-year concession.

Larnaca's first phase (due for completion in 2008) will serve 7.5 million passengers a year. A second phase, due for 2013, provides for the expansion of the terminal to cater for 9 million passengers a year.

All the major hotels are continuing to invest in their properties. The Amathus Paphos Beach Hotel opened its doors in time for summer 2007, with a fresh look and contemporary style, including a brand new bar and Asian restaurant, and all rooms and conference suites completely refurbished.

Over in Limassol, the Four Seasons Hotel opened a brand new Shiseido spa in April, and also added two new restaurants, completing its two-year renovation programme.

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