Tourism in Cyprus: challenges and opportunities
Islands have long been popular tourist destinations, their physical and climatic characteristics combining with the less tangible elements of 'island-ness' to create a special allure for tourists. As a result, many islands have turned to tourism as a means of social and economic development, with tourism frequently becoming the dominant economic sector. However, such a reliance on tourism has proved to be problematic for many island destinations, frequently reflecting the centre - periphery dependency model of development. As this paper demonstrates, Cyprus is no exception. Since the 1960s and despite internal political turmoil, the island has grown into a popular Mediterranean summer sun destination. At the same time, tourism has provided the foundation for rapid and successful economic growth, but the island has also become increasingly dependent upon tourism and upon a small number of major markets and tour operators. Nevertheless, as the paper argues, significant opportunities exist for the future development of tourism in Cyprus. In particular, whilst there is an evident need for more effective planning and control at the national level, it is suggested that, contrary to conventional wisdom (and current Cyprus tourism policy), efforts should be made not to diversify but to consolidate and strengthen existing core markets.
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