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Cyprus a golf haven October 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Golf.
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Cyprus is to market itself as the golfing Mecca of the Mediterranean in the coming years as property developers and construction firms plan new high-quality courses aiming to attract the attention of connoisseurs of the sport.

There are currently only three golf courses on the island but with another 14 projects in development, the Cypriot tourist board is hoping that high-spending golfers will flock to the Republic.

The move is part of a long-term goal to attract a more affluent tourist market that will not grab the headlines for all the wrong reasons such as the youth market, which caused the country’s tourism to boom in the late 1990s.

However, the authorities are very conscious of the damage that could be caused by a mushrooming tourist market and so are keen to preserve the country’s prime assets, particularly its environment.

Kate Hamilton a spokesperson for Home Overseas, noted that despite the commitment to new golf courses, there would not be unrestrained development. “There is only a certain amount of development that can happen especially where golf is concerned, because there isn’t room enough for a lot of golf courses,” she said.

However, the limited land space may benefit investors in the future as it will put a cap on supply, which would then draw up prices if tourist and housing demand remained strong.

Last month the Financial Mirror reported that the average house price rose by 1.6 per cent in August, according to the BuySell Cyprus Home Price Index, representing 8.5 per cent annual growth.

It is this stability that is attracting investors; private individuals seem comfortable investing in a country that is developing slowly because it means that the area surrounding their acquisitions will be protected from the sprawling developments of mass tourism. A gradual increase in property prices and rental yields is a factor that cannot be offered by many competing countries in the east of Europe.

In addition, the fact that English is widely spoken means not only that private individuals find it easier to conduct financial transactions but is also a sign that the cultural divide is not as marked as it is in some European property hotspots.

Cyprus is home to some 60,000 British expats and as flights can be bought for around £120 return, there is always a strong UK presence on the island, a feature that is making the country feel like an extension of the homeland, but blessed with 300 days sunshine a year.

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