Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades will swear in today Savvas Perdios as the country’s first-ever dedicated minister for tourism, the popular vacation island’s largest industry.

“We’ve demanded the creation of a tourism ministry for decades given its importance for the economy,” said Harris Loizides, president of the Cyprus Hotel Association. “The new ministry will have to tackle many issues including new legislation for the classification of hotels and implementing the country’s new tourism strategy.”

Tourism was previously part of a wider ministerial portfolio that also covered energy, commerce and industry. Travel and tourism accounted for 22.3 percent of Cypriot economic output in 2017, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council. Revenue from tourism rose 2.3 percent in the first nine months of 2018 to 2.27 billion euros ($2.6 billion).

Perdios will officially be known as Deputy Minister for Tourism, reflecting Cypriot constitutional constraints on the permitted number of ministries. The new deputy ministry is taking over all responsibilities of the Cyprus Tourism Organization that will be closed down.

Perdios, formerly chief operations officer at Louis Hotels SA that manages 25 mainly resort properties in Cyprus and Greece, studied finance and accounting at the University of Warwick in the U.K. as well as international hospitality management at the Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland.

The new deputy ministry will implement Cyprus’s national tourism strategy with the necessary horizontal policies, tourism development planning and wider political supervision of the sector, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said.

Construction of Europe’s largest integrated casino resort in Cyprus by Melco International Development and local partner The Cyprus Phassouri (Zahaki) is expected to begin in February. City of Dreams Mediterranean is set to launch in 2021 and aims to attract 300,000 tourists a year. The new deputy ministry will form the basis for a comprehensive sustainable tourism strategy in Cyprus, according to the company.

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Photo Credit: A rendering of Cyprus: City of Dreams Mediterranean is set to launch in 2021 and aims to attract 300,000 tourists a year.