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Tourism earns Cyprus over 1 billion pounds in 1999

Cyprus<.> tourism earnings exceeded the 1-billion pound mark in 1999 while the industry`s goal for 2003 is to attract three million tourists…

Cyprus<.> tourism earnings exceeded the 1-billion pound mark in 1999 while the industry`s goal for 2003 is to attract three million tourists.

Cypriot Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Nikos Rolandis made the announcement during a recent press conference, stressing once more the importance of the sector in the island`s economic development.

According to statistics presented by Rolandis, arrivals topped 2.43 million last year compared to 2.22 million in 1998, representing an increase of 9.5 percent. This year a rise of 8 percent is forecast.

For 1999, turnover totalled 1.02 billion Cypriot pounds compared to 878 million pounds in 1998, indicating a rise of 16.4 percent. Around 40,000 people are employed in the industry.

Rolandis said that new legislation governing the operation of marinas was in its final stage and would soon go before parliament for approval.

Construction of a third golf course is due to start within February while the ministry and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) are preparing to enhance the island`s cultural events programme.

Additionally, the republic`s number of soccer fields – created especially to host teams from abroad wishing to train in Cyprus – has risen from 29 to 40 while 12 theme parks now exist, up from one in 1997.

Meanwhile, tourist traffic from northern America jumped 19 percent in 1999 with a total of 29,000 arrivals. Japan is preparing to highlight Cyprus in travel promotions this year.

Furthermore, Cyprus aims to lure more members of the diaspora into vacationing in their homeland this year, boost winter tourism and expand the network of CTO offices abroad.

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