Europe’s largest casino resort opens

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Europe’s first super casino resort, expected to attract an extra 300,000 tourists annually to the Mediterranean island, officially opened its doors on Tuesday.

Melco hospitality and leisure group built Limassol’s City of Dreams Mediterranean complex, which took three years to construct at a cost of over €637 million ($700 mln).

It is viewed as a “game-changer” for the key tourism sector that will address seasonality and attract big spenders from nearby Israel and the Gulf.

City of Dreams hopes to establish the island as a year-round destination for premium tourism, world-class entertainment, and international business and conference tourism hub and create hundreds of jobs.

At Tuesday’s official launch Melco Resorts & Entertainment chair and CEO Lawrence Ho said: “City of Dreams Mediterranean gives Cyprus a new story to tell in premium luxury.”

“It allows Cyprus to unlock new markets in Africa and the Middle East.

“Having a resort of this quality, with all its attractions, including the largest expo facilities on the island, opens multiple new possibilities.”

Ho said he first got the idea to build the resort on the island when visiting 16 years ago to attend a wedding.

“First impressions are powerful and lasting. We came for a wedding and loved it.

“I think Cyprus has been underrated as a destination.”

He said the thinking behind the ambitious project was to build a “hotel James Bond would want to go to…hopefully in the new James Bond film.”

“We are creating new reasons for visits and offering fresh choices to locals.”

Grant Johnson, Property Manager of City of Dreams, said the project was uniquely sustainable, with its solar power system generating 1.2 MW of renewable energy.

“This resort is the largest of its kind in Europe,” said Johnson.

“Cyprus is now ready to compete across Europe and the Middle East in luxury tourism and large-scale conferences.”

The fourteen-floor hotel features 500 guest rooms and suites, the largest swimming pool complex, sporting facilities, an outdoor amphitheatre, a family adventure park and 8,000 sqm of event space.

And 130,000 new trees and indigenous species of flora were planted.

It also has the largest Presidential Suite in Cyprus at 425 sqm but is invitation only.

The largest casino in Europe has 7,500 sqm of gaming area, 100 tables and 1,000 slot machines.

City of Dreams – the first property Melco has opened outside Asia — currently employs 2,000 staff and is actively trying to recruit another 400 personnel.

Room prices during the high season range from €425 per night to €2,300.

Pre-coronavirus 2019 was a record year for Cypriot tourism, with 3.97 million tourists arriving and spending €2.68 bln.

Tourism is a key driver of the economy, contributing around 15% of Cyprus’ GDP.