Cyprus Mail – NICOSIA yesterday launched its big push to secure the licence for the island’s first-ever casino resort, and like each of the other main districts, says the capital is the only location that makes the most business sense.
The Nicosia Chamber of Commerce (EVEL) yesterday met with the city’s brass and other players to exchange views on how to boost tourism where it was decided to set up a steering committee to actively pursue the licence.
Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis and his predecessors were also at the meeting, which was held at the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry building. Yiorkadjis said that currently, only five per cent of all tourist arrivals stay in Nicosia.
All sides agreed that Nicosia was best placed to host a casino resort, the licence for which is expected to be ready in Spring 2015.
EVEL president Costas Georgallis said the capital was best placed geographically, and being located in the centre of the island, Nicosia was the heart of the business and political communities and had the population to sustain a casino all year round.
Also, Nicosia, he said, was only 20-25 minutes from Larnaca airport, “while in the event of a Cyprus solution, it would also be a stone’s throw from the ‘now illegal’ Tymbou-Ercan Airport,” he said.
Georgallis said Nicosia had enormous potential for tourism development, with its rich museums, galleries, monuments and strong historical and religious heritage, dining, entertainment and a family environment. A casino would attract an entirely new type of tourist, one who would not come just for sea and sun, he added. Those tourists only filled a six-month period, he said.
Having the casino in the capital would also discourage those Greek Cypriots who already travel north to gamble.
Land prices to build in Nicosia would also be lower compared to creating a resort elsewhere.