The largest casino resort in Europe opened its doors in Cyprus on Tuesday in hopes of turning the east Mediterranean island nation into a year-round vacation destination.
Located on the outskirts of Limassol, the City of Dreams Mediterranean is a 14-story, 500-room resort that boasts a casino, sporting facilities, a family adventure park, an outdoor amphitheater, eight restaurants and bars, a conference center, and the island’s largest pool area, according to its website.
The casino, which is 81,000 square feet, contains 100 tables and 1,000 slot machines.
Its construction cost 600 million euro ($659 million) and was one of the largest development projects ever completed on the island.
The resort is expected to “allow Cyprus to unlock new markets in the region and beyond,” according to Lawrence Ho, chief executive of Hong Kong-based Melco Resorts and Entertainment.
Island officials told the Associated Press that the resort will create 6,500 jobs and attract approximately 300,000 additional visitors to the luxury vacation spot each year, generating hundreds of millions of Euros into the local economy on an annual basis.
Similar to other tourism-reliant areas, Cyprus is rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic – and with success. Total tourist arrivals between January and May of this year are up 36.2% from last year over the same period, and up nearly 4% from the same time in 2019, which is when a record 3.9 million people visited the island.
The increase is in addition to a loss of around 900,000 annual tourists from Russia as the country faces sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine last February.
Resort Property Manager Grant Johnson said Melco’s noteworthy experience in entertainment and gaming combined with Cypriot culture and hospitality will offer a potent mix for tourists.
“Cyprus is now ready to compete across Europe and the Middle East in luxury tourism and large-scale conferences,” Johnson said.
The City of Dreams Mediterranean is the first development in Cyprus with a top-rated sustainability strategy, the AP shared.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.