A senior executive at Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd’s Cyprus casino operations has suggested that the firm’s main property – due to open in 2021 – could help bring “an additional 300,000 tourists” annually, and also help the holiday industry on the Mediterranean island.
Referring to the under-construction City of Dreams (CoD) Mediterranean (pictured in an artist’s rendering) at Limassol on the south coast of the Republic of Cyprus, Craig Ballantyne, property president, was quoted as saying in a company press release on Thursday: “This ground-breaking project is expected to attract an additional 300,000 tourists on an annual basis thus, having a multiplying effect on the local economy.”
The executive was further quoted as suggesting the venture would help smooth the traditional dip in tourism demand experienced in Mediterranean destinations during the northern hemisphere’s winter months.
According to the country’s Statistical Service, the tally of inbound tourists to Cyprus in the peak months of July, August and September 2018 was just over 2.12 million, compared to only 695,472 in the low-season months of January, February and March that year.
“We believe that the casino, as an alternative form of tourism, will assist in expanding the island’s tourism period thus fighting seasonality and establishing Cyprus as an all-year destination,” Mr Ballantyne was cited as saying.
In April – at the time construction work on City of Dreams Mediterranean reportedly began – Cyprus media reports stated the budget for the flagship venue remained at EUR550 million (US$601 million), a figure previously quoted by the promoters.
Mr Ballantyne is also in a leadership role that covers Cyprus Casinos “C2”, a chain of smaller satellite venues allowed under the monopoly gaming licence granted by the government there to a consortium led by Melco Resorts.
The three existing satellites are at Larnaca, Nicosia and the holiday resort of Ayia Napa. A fourth satellite casino – C2 Paphos – is scheduled to open by the end of 2019, according to Thursday’s press release.
Melco Resorts is also entitled under its permit to run a temporary Limassol gaming venue – C2 Limassol – pending the launch of City of Dreams Mediterranean.
In July the promoter of the Cyprus operation said just under a million guest visits had been recorded in aggregate at the satellite venues and temporary Limassol casino during the course of the previous 12 months.
According to Sunday’s statement, Melco Resorts currently employs in Cyprus more than 950 people, and that number will rise with the launch of C2 Paphos.
In late July, Nasdaq-listed Melco Resorts acquired the 75-percent interest held by its Hong Kong-listed parent Melco International Development Ltd, in ICR Cyprus Holdings Ltd, an investment vehicle for the Cyprus casino venture.
The remaining 25-percent stake in the latter firm is controlled by Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Ltd, a Cyprus-based conglomerate.
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”We will continue to develop the Studio City Phase 2 and City of Dreams Mediterranean as planned, before other discretionary capital expenditure spend”
Chairman and chief executive of Melco Resorts and Entertainment