Lawrence Ho Yau Lung (pictured), chairman and chief executive of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, says the new casino resort City of Dreams (CoD) Mediterranean, in the Republic of Cyprus, will allow the gaming group and its local partners to “unlock new tourism and MICE markets” for that nation.
That was a reference to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business, a staple of large-scale modern casino complexes. The firm mentioned an aim of bringing annually an additional 300,000 visitors to the Mediterranean-island nation.
Mr Ho’s comments were at a press event on Tuesday, to mark Monday’s opening to the public of City of Dreams Mediterranean, following a period of soft launch for “hotel and invited guests”.
Melco Resorts – which also runs casinos in Macau, and one in the Philippines – mentioned in a Tuesday press release a budget “exceeding” EUR600 million (about US$662 million) for City of Dreams Mediterranean, which is in the coastal city of Limassol. It features 500 rooms and suites.
The firm claims the new venue has the largest casino in Europe, with a 7,500 square metre (80,729 sq. foot) gaming area, hosting 100 tables and 1,000 slot machines.
The complex’s MICE facilities comprise what it says is the largest “expo” facility in the Republic of Cyprus, with 8,000 sq. metres of indoor and outdoor event space, a ballroom with capacity for 880 guests, and a terraced lawn with 200-seat capacity.
City of Dreams Mediterranean is being run by Melco Cyprus, a venture between Melco Resorts and Cyprus-based conglomerate Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Ltd. The partnership has a 30-year monopoly licence for the jurisdiction.
Melco Cyprus has – under the terms of its licence – already been running satellite casinos in Nicosia, Ayia Napa and Paphos ahead of the launch of City of Dreams Mediterranean.
Grant Johnson, general manager of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos, said at Tuesday’s media briefing that the Cyprus operation currently had 2,000 workers, and was “actively recruiting” 400 people.
“Melco aims to attract an additional 300,000 quality visitors annually to Cyprus as we create new, skilled jobs. We aim to enhance the country’s tourism offering by providing an innovative premium luxury product to market,” Mr Johnson added.
Mr Ho stated in his Tuesday comments: “Being introduced to the right partners here gave us the confidence to invest at the levels we have.”
He added: “The government has been forward-thinking, supportive, and with a clear vision on how to further enhance tourism.”
Mr Ho also stated regarding the local authorities: “They were prepared to build the foundations required for a new, well-regulated industry. Their hard work has created a safe and responsible gaming infrastructure for Cyprus.”
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