The foundations of tourism in Cyprus were laid in the early sixties. The industry had experienced rapid growth, which was interrupted by the Turkish invasion in the summer of 1974. At that time, all economic activity came to a standstill and the tourist sector suffered a devastating blow when the two highly developed regions of Ammochostos and Keryneia came under the control of the Turkish troops. This resulted in the loss of 13.000 beds constituting 71.7% of the total bed capacity at the time, plus 5.000 beds under construction and about 40% of the island’s tourist facilities in restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs.
The destruction of the economy called for drastic measures, which would enable its quick reconstruction. Hence, the Government recognised that one of the most important measures to be taken concerning the reconstruction of the tourist industry. This task would be achieved through the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), a semi-government organization under the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and which would be responsible for the planning, promotion and marketing of tourism and the regulation and supervision of all the tourist enterprises of Cyprus.
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation immediately responded to that challenge and led the reconstruction effort, which materialized through the support that the private sector received by the Government through various policy measures and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cypriot tourist professionals. Soon enough, Cyprus got back on the global tourist map and tourism became the backbone of the economy and the main driving force behind the recovery of the Cyprus economy.
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) was established in order to operate according to the provisions of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation Law 1969-1999 and the related Regulations on Structure, Terms of Employment, Administration and Finance.
According to the Law, the aim of the CTO is to organise and promote tourism in the Republic of Cyprus, by using all possibilities and resources available.
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation is a statutory body responsible for tourist planning and research and the development and marketing of the tourist product.
The CTO is run by a nine-member Board of Directors. The Organisation consists of the office of the Director-General and four Departments: The Administration Department, the Planning Department, the Marketing and Communications Department and the Quality Assurance Department. The head office is in Nicosia.
The regional offices of the organisation consist of:
- The tourist information offices in: Lefkosia (Nicosia), Lemesos (Limassol), Larnaka (Larnaca), Agia Napa, Protaras, Pafos (Paphos), Kato Pafos, Larnaka Airport, Pafos Airport, Lemesos Port, Germasogeia, Platres and Polis Chrysochous.
- The inspectors’ offices in: Lefkosia, Lemesos, Larnaka, Pafos, Agia Napa and Polis Chrysochous.
- The Larnaka Marina.
The organisation also operates tourist offices in London, Frankfurt, Vienna, Brussels, Prague, Helsinki, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Athens, Thessaloniki, Budapest, Milan, Zurich, Amsterdam, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Dubai, Kiev, New York and St. Petersburg.
Participation in International Organisations
The Government, through the CTO, participates actively and makes a constructive contribution to international tourism organisations. It also participates in overseas exhibitions, conferences and seminars on tourism.
These international events also provide the opportunity for enlightening and informing tour operators and travel writers on the efforts of the illegal Turkish Cypriot administration to put into operation Greek Cypriot hotels in the Turkish occupied area of the Republic.