Savvas Perdios, the first Deputy Minister for Tourism, was sworn in by President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, followed by the first Cabinet meeting to include the junior minister.
Anastasiades announced the appointment of Perdios, Chief Operating Officer at Louis Hotels, on December 27, to take over the new post created from the restructuring of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation from a semi-state organisation to a government department.
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The change, one of three junior ministries announced by Anastasiades almost six years ago, means that the tourism responsibilities are now removed from the overburdened portfolio of the Minister of Energy, Tourism, Commerce and Industry, with Perdios reporting directly to the president.
Due to the constitutional limitation of Cabinet posts, the Deputy Minister for Tourism and the Deputy Minister for Shipping, headed by Natasa Pilidou, a new post created in March 2018, do not having voting powers in the Council of Ministers, but participate equally.
The third junior ministry, for Innovation, has yet to be announced.
Perdios, 37, the son of Louis Hotels CEO Jason Perdios, was presented as having work experience with “large international organisations in the tourism industry” and is a finance graduate from the University of Warwick as well as in hotel management.
Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said last week that Perdios will undertake the implementation of the ‘National Strategy for Tourism’ for 2018-2030 through the necessary policy decisions, planning, incentives for investments and general supervision of the tourism sector.
Variations of the ‘national strategy’ have been on the agenda of all past Trade ministers and CTO boards, with none implemented to date.
After the swearing in ceremony at the President Palace, Anastasiades said that with its new Deputy Ministry, the tourism sector enters a “new age of modernisation”.
He said that with the tourism industry directly contributing 13% to the national economy’s output, his administration introduced a number of changes, such as town planning incentives for the hotels sector, infrastructure projects such as the casino-resort, marinas, mixed-use developments and golf courses, as well as the promotion of specialised tourism, such as business and conference, culture, sports, health and religious holidays.
All these efforts, Anastasiades said, are a part of the strategy to extend the official tourist season and to resolve issues related to seasonality.
As a result, January-to-November arrivals reached a new record of 3.8 mln, while the implementation of a new national strategy foresees a plan for steady growth within the new world environment which includes sustainable development.
In his response, Perdios assured the President that the new national strategy will be the main focus of the Deputy Ministry’s efforts, adding that “tourism also means emotions and memories for life for a visitor.”
He said that “reforms, legislation and implementation of a new national strategy will take place gradually and with patience. But nothing happens with a magic wand. We need hard work, teamwork and not too much talk.”
Perdios said that “we are entering an important period of planning so that we can say more in a few weeks.”
After the Cabinet meeting, Perdios visited the CTO offices in Nicosia to officially take over the reins from the Organisation’s chairman Angelos Loizou.