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Residential Tourism in Cyprus

Cyprus an already established tourism destination for many countries around the globe and especially for European Union countries now has other prospects to look at in the years ahead.

Residential Tourism is a big bet now for the south-eastern Mediterranean country as Cyprus gradually becomes the home and work place for many Europeans. A big factor to this is of course Cyprus accession into the European Union which opened doors to many segments and gave the chance for more growth opportunities especially in the property market.

Many foreigners are seeing now Cyprus as a good place for purchasing or lending a residence for permanent and holiday reasons with the cities of Paphos, Larnaka, Limassol, Polis and the ancient city of Nicosia to be featured as the hotspots of Cyprus.

The interest is quite high with many property developers investing more money and seeking for the best options.

According to Aristo Developers, one of the most dynamic development companies based in Cyprus and Greece, residential tourism in Cyprus will achieve a 10% increase for the years 2007-2008 with more foreigners considering purchasing a holiday home in the country.

Undoubtedly, after EU accession, procedures have been easier for EU-citizens to have their own holiday residence or permanent residence in Cyprus boosting the market with new investments coming in and property prices going up.

The strong and stable economy of Cyprus also helps the market to prosper while a positive impact is expected after euro entry in 2008.

The country holds 16th place in the world in terms of per capita income attracting more investments particularly in the residential market. It enjoys a standard of living that is higher than other European Union member-states while economic performance compares very well to that of most other EU countries.

Moreover, the property market has left as the best major investment alternative in Cyprus as the downturn of the Cyprus Stock Exchange pushed most of the capital towards the property market.

Another reason of the growth of the market is Cypriot government’s efforts to improve and enhance infrastructure and quality land development.

The Cyprus Tourism Organization and the Cypriot government have launched a strategic plan for tourism until 2010 focusing on infrastructure projects with new facilities and resorts to be underway. The Cypriot tourism authorities aim to attract more travelers in the country by investing in golf tourism, constructing marinas and theme parks.

Since 1999, Cyprus has a steady arrival numbers of approximately 2.4 million visitors coming to the country every year. The major countries that contribute to Cypriot tourism pie is primarily from European countries such, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and France.

According to figures by the Cyprus Statistical Service (CYSTAT), holidays are still the main purpose of travelers visiting the island with an average overnight stay of 10 days. However, it is quite interesting to notice that the number of those coming to Cyprus for business reasons and visiting friends and relatives increases. Business travelers counted for 6.3% of the total travelers in Cyprus in 2006 while in 1999 this percentage was at 5.2. Those who stayed in relatives and families counted for 3.9% in 2001 while in 2006 the level was at 6.6%.

The most interesting part though is the one of where these people stayed. According to CYSTAT, the star-rate hotels counted for the 48% of the stays in 2006 while many stayed in friends and relatives (12.6%) and in private residences (5.3%).

As far as private residences are concerned, the rate is growing as in 2002 the percentage was 4.7% while after four-year time we see a steady increase (5.3% – 2006).

Future:

The future of the segment seems bright as the recent figures by the Cyprus Statistical Service indicate. According to CYSTAT, a record of 749 building permits was authorized during April 2007 by the municipal authorities and the District Administration offices in Cyprus with a total value of CYP 139.5 million and a total area of 324.5 thousand square metres. These building permits will lead to the construction of 1,731 residence units. During the period January – April 2007, 3,286 building permits were issued and the total value of these permits increased by 21.9% and the total area by 13.1%. Τhe number of residence units recorded a rise of 16.6%.

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