Radisson Hotel Group VP describes plans to “triple” its serviced apartments portfolio in EMEA to address new demand for “safe” holidays and to build on the resilient extended stay hospitality model.
While many hotel groups have put their development plans on hold, Radisson Hotel Group has announced it is forging ahead with an ambitious five-year plan that includes opening a second property in Larnaca by the summer of 2021, and breaking ground in the next few months to build the island’s first branded serviced apartments, also in Larnaca. Another flagship property is planned in Nicosia, to be operated by Sunnyseeker Hotels under a franchise agreement.
Elie Milky, Vice President of Development for Radisson Hotel Group for the Middle East, Pakistan, Cyprus and Greece, described a global trend towards the use of serviced apartments and said the group was responding to new demand from guests “who are looking to travel again, but in a safe and physically distanced manner” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
George Campanellas, Chief Executive of Invest Cyprus, the national investment promotion agency, which is working on a national strategy to turn Cyprus into a leading tourism and hospitality investment destination, said:
“We are delighted that leading hotel brands such as Radisson Hotels has chosen Cyprus to expand, adding over 500 new rooms and apartments. This shows a major vote of confidence in the tourism and hospitality sector in Cyprus during a hugely challenging time for the global economy. It is also a great example of how major companies are working with Cyprus to find innovative ways to address challenges brought on by the pandemic and to support local businesses and generate jobs.”
Radisson Hotel Group already has five hotels, resorts, and serviced apartments with over 800 keys in operation and under development across Cyprus, making it the largest international hotel group on the island. The planned Radisson Beach Resort Larnaca (pictured) will offer an additional 202 keys and will be the city’s first internationally branded resort when it opens this summer. Construction is also starting “in the coming months” on the island’s first branded serviced apartments product, also under the Radisson Blu brand. In addition, the recently signed strategic partnership with Sunnyseeker Hotels and Quality Group will mark the group’s entry into Nicosia with a 271-key property that “will change the skyline of the city” when it opens in 2024, said Mr Milky.
Setting out why Radisson had selected Cyprus for expansion, Mr Milky said:
“With only 1% of the 500 hotels on the island under an international brand, we identified this as an opening to penetrate the market with the right partners. The pandemic and resulting economic climate have also made independent hotel owners more open to branding opportunities given the strict cleaning and prevention standards that guests are looking for, and the opportunity to access more markets and international guests.”
He added: “What sets Cyprus apart as a successful tourism destination is stability, opportunity, and location. The Cypriot government also strongly supported the process of developing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which makes the island an even more attractive destination for tourism and investment.”
Mr Milky said that the pandemic had boosted the trend towards serviced apartments. “Even before the pandemic, serviced apartments made up 10% of our EMEA portfolio with 45 properties and more than 5,400 keys in operation and under development. This has been further strengthened with additional announcements for new serviced apartments properties in Amsterdam, Paris, Larnaca, Nicosia and elsewhere. Our group plans to almost triple our serviced apartments portfolio within the next five years.”
Looking ahead, he said: “Guests are looking to travel again, but in a safe physically distanced manner. There will be more focus on cleanliness and there will also be more demand for resorts, serviced apartments, and branded hospitality real estate due to their element of trust, standards, and the diversified distribution channels that come with it. We will start seeing more conversion and branding opportunities as a result.
“We will also see much more reliance on technology as it will be a key tool in the revival of our sector. Almost every aspect of the hospitality experience will have a digital component. There will always be a need for physical meetings and interactions, but business meetings will likely move to a more hybrid set-up, with smaller teams getting together in one location and connecting with others via videoconference, and this will be a huge opportunity for the hospitality industry.”
Invest Cyprus has launched several new initiatives to attract investment in the tourism and hospitality sector, part of which is a dedicated project bank called TourInvest Cyprus, which lists all investment opportunities available in the sector. Its focus is on promoting the island as a year-round destination and to boost thematic tourism such as wellness, health and sports rehabilitation.
About Invest Cyprus
Invest Cyprus (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency) is the investment promotion agency of the Government of Cyprus, dedicated to attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into the country. In close collaboration with all governmental authorities and public institutions, as well as the private sector, Invest Cyprus is the country’s lead agent in establishing Cyprus as a world-class investment destination. For more details, please visit www.investcyprus.org.cy
Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson Hotel Group is one of the world's largest hotel groups with nine distinctive hotel brands, and more than 1,500 hotels in operation and under development in 120 countries. The Group’s overarching brand promise is Every Moment Matters with a signature Yes I Can! service ethos.
The Radisson Hotel Group portfolio includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, and prizeotel brought together under one commercial umbrella brand Radisson Hotels.
Radisson Rewards is our global rewards program that delivers unique and personalized ways to create memorable moments that matter to our guests. Radisson Rewards offers exceptional loyalty benefits for our guests, meeting planners, travel agents and business partners.
Radisson Meetings provides tailored solutions for any event or meeting, including hybrid solutions placing guests and their needs at the heart of its offer. Radisson Meetings is built around three strong service commitments: Personal, Professional and Memorable, while delivering on the brilliant basics and being uniquely 100% Carbon Neutral.
More than 100,000 team members work at Radisson Hotel Group and at the hotels licensed to operate in its systems.
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Cyprus Tech Association: Cyprus-based international ICT companies join forces
As part of its efforts to promote Cyprus as an ideal location for international ICT companies, and provide support to existing and potential foreign investors, Invest Cyprus today welcomes the foundation of the Cyprus Tech Association.The Cyprus Tech Association provides a strong platform for all international ICT companies established in Cyprus to promote new opportunities and partnerships.
It also constitutes a formal representation of its members to all forums and offers direction on key strategic issues, including the economic importance of the sector and policy advocacy. In addition, the Cyprus Tech Association acts as a bridge of communication with world-class technology centers, empowering the country's efforts to become an attractive investment destination for foreign investors and a competitive business center.
The Board of Directors of the Cyprus Tech Association consists of representatives from major international ICT companies operating in Cyprus, including as Kyriakos Kyriakou, General Manager Cyprus and Director Government Central and East Europe of NCR Corporation, Giannis Tinis, Head of amdocs Cyprus, Valentinos Polykarpou, General Manager and Global HR Operations and Services of Wargaming, Avi Sela, CEO of eToro Cyprus, Peter Valov, Founder and CEO of Exness, Nick Galea, founder and CEO of 3CX and Pavlos Christoforou, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) Investor Services Fintech Limited.
Kyriakos Kyriakou, chairman of the Board of Directors, expressed his appreciation to Invest Cyprus for this initiative. “It is a great honour for every professional to be part of such a significant Association,” Kyriakou said. “Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank the Vice-Chairman and the rest of the Board Members for accepting the invitation to join our Board. I'm certain everyone joining this Association will contribute with excitement and eagerness to support our newly established initiative's goals. Our vision is to make Cyprus an ideal destination for International ICT companies. I feel confident that we can achieve it.”
The Vice President of the Board, Yiannis Tinis, added: “It is an honour to be elected to the position of Vice-Chairman of the newly established Cyprus Tech Association. I am confident the Association will put all efforts necessary to increase the number of international businesses choosing Cyprus, attract direct investments in the country and support the already established enterprises; I very much look forward to the success of the Association.”
Avi Sela, CEO of eToro said: “I am honoured to be part of the Board of the Cyprus Tech Association. I believe that this initiative will add great value to the Cyprus economy. As a representative of a major fintech from Israel that chose to expand its European operations in Cyprus, I acknowledge a great potential in the ICT sector. The establishment of the Cyprus Tech Association will allow us to promote and discuss potential challenges and support companies looking to relocate to Cyprus, encouraging the development of the ecosystem in the country. I do look forward to collaborating with all the parties involved to promote this important initiative.”
The Head of ICT Headquartering Unit at Invest Cyprus and Board Secretary of the Cyprus Tech Association, Marios Tanousis, said: "The establishment of international ICT companies on the island is a top strategic priority for Invest Cyprus. We stand ready to support the existing investors to overcome challenges and successfully scale up operations and at the same time assist new companies relocate to Cyprus.”
George Campanellas, Chief Executive of Invest Cyprus, which encouraged the foundation of the new organization, said: “Cyprus offers enormous potential to ICT companies of all sizes to help them flourish and grow, and the creation of the new association is an exciting new development that will allow all companies to come together under one umbrella to shape the future of the sector in Cyprus.”
European Commission registers Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
Today (13 April), the European Commission adopted a package of two measures regarding an important Cypriot heritage: Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim. First, the Commission registered Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim as a protected designation of origin (PDO), protecting the valuable name against imitation and misuse across the EU. Only Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim produced in Cyprus according to the product specification is now allowed to use the registered name, bringing clear economic benefits to the island.
The registration allows producers of this iconic Cypriot cheese, famous around the world for its characteristic texture, folded appearance, and suitability for serving grilled or pan-fried, based anywhere on the island of Cyprus to benefit from the PDO status.
Secondly, to facilitate that producers in the Turkish Cypriot community draw full benefits from the protection, the Commission has adopted a measure allowing the PDO product to cross the Green Line, provided that the cheese and milk from which it was made has met all EU animal and public health standards.
This historic package that gives effect to the Common Understanding for Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim reached in 2015, to be implemented pending the reunification of Cyprus.
The measure accompanying the registration of Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim as a PDO aims at ensuring that the animal and public health situation in the EU as well as food safety are not compromised. It also establishes the conditions for trade to take place including provisions on controls. In addition, the milk processing establishments will have to be in compliance with the relevant public health rules.
The main features of the package are:
- The name “Χαλλούμι (Halloumi)/Hellim” is now in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications. Only Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim produced on the island of Cyprus and according to the traditional recipe can now be marketed in the European Union under that name.
- An internationally accredited inspection body will be appointed to conduct PDO inspections throughout Cyprus. The inspection body will be responsible for ensuring that producers respect the traditional recipe.
- A workable arrangement will be set up to ensure efficient PDO controls throughout Cyprus, which will be closely monitored by the Commission.
- A measure lifting the prohibitions of movements of certain animal products on the island of Cyprus, pending its reunification, and laying down certain conditions for the movement of those products to allow the production of ‘Χαλλούμι' (Halloumi)/‘Hellim' (PDO) across all Cyprus.
- A private inspection body will be appointed to conduct inspections of farms and dairies in the Turkish Cypriot community to ensure that they comply with all EU health and hygiene rules. Only Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim that meets all EU health standards can be traded across the Green Line.
Remarks by Members of the College
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, who is also responsible for the Cyprus Settlement Support, said: “This is a major achievement with political and economic significance for the entire island of Cyprus. It shows that mutually beneficial solutions are possible, as well as the important role of the Commission in bringing them about. The implementation of these arrangements, in a spirit of cooperation, should contribute to bolster trust and confidence between the two Cypriot communities. The Commission will continue to play an active role with a view to achieve a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem”.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, said: “I am delighted that Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim has entered the register of PDOs and PGIs, joining the finest products of Europe's high quality agriculture and food. The application to all producers on Cyprus willing to adhere to the scheme is the fruit of many years of patient and careful work on all sides. This PDO registration arrangement ensures equal and fair treatment for all producers on each side of the Green Line, and will finally guarantee that consumers throughout the European Union can identify this authentic Cypriot product”.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: "Today, the Commission adopted an historic Decision after years of dedicated work. With the unanimous endorsement of all Member States, today we safeguard not only a unique national product of Cyprus, but also our Union's strict sanitary protections, which are paramount for food safety. The Commission has developed this framework in agreement with Cyprus competent authorities, and is fully committed to supporting its successful implementation and oversight. The two communities in Cyprus can now reap the economic benefits of this Decision, pending the reunification of the country, while ensuring that our stringent food safety standards are upheld”.
Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim is the most prominent animal product of Cyprus. Besides its cultural value, it is also a product of significant economic importance for the island.
The registration of Halloumi/Hellim as a PDO – equally available to producers from both Cypriot communities – is also a highly symbolic step to bring the two communities closer and working together to build confidence.
In order to protect animal and public health throughout Cyprus the Commission will assist the Turkish Cypriot dairy sector to reach compliance as soon as possible with EU animal and public health standards. The Commission envisages intensifying its support to the Turkish Cypriot dairy sector under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community.
As part of the package, the decision foresees the possibility of setting up a Working Group on Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim. This Group will be chaired by the Commission and composed of representatives from the two Cypriot communities. The Working Group will review the implementation of the Regulation and Decision.
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Commission approves €200 million Cypriot schemes to support companies and self-employed affected by coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved two Cypriot schemes, with a total budget of €200 million, to support companies and self-employed that had to suspend their activities due to the restrictions that the the government had to impose to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The two schemes were approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. Under the first scheme, companies and self-employed will be entitled to receive direct grants of up to €300,000 (or €800,000 for hotels whose turnover in 2019 exceeded €20m). Under the second scheme, which will be open to self-employed persons who carry out taxable transactions of less than €15,600 per year (i.e. the ceiling under which an undertaking does not need to register for VAT purposes in Cyprus) the aid will take the form of direct grants. Both schemes aim at addressing the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries and to help them continue their activities during and after the outbreak.
The Commission found that the two schemes are in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €225,000 per company active in the primary production of agriculture products, €270,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, and €1.8 million per company active in other sectors as provided by the Temporary Framework; and (ii) the aid will be granted before 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the two measures are necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.
On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.61839 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website.
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