Cyprus Casinos Battle Fires, Logistics That Keep Mega-Rich Away

Posted on: July 31, 2023, 08:51h. 

Last updated on: July 31, 2023, 11:26h.

Just weeks after Melco Resorts & Entertainment launched its City of Dreams Mediterranean (CoDM) in Cyprus, the island has been dealing with wildfires. That, coupled with logistical issues and a lack of infrastructure, makes it difficult to attract high rollers to the property, although CoDM might be able to change that.

City of Dreams Mediterranean resort in Cyprus
The City of Dreams Mediterranean resort in Cyprus. Attracting high rollers to Cyprus is difficult because of wildfires and a lack of infrastructure. (Image: City of Dreams Mediterranean)

Cyprus, like many parts of the world, is dealing with one of the longest heatwaves on record. Greece and its islands are dealing with almost nonstop wildfires, with Italy, Algeria, the U.S., and other countries also suffering.

Last week, Cypriot firefighters worked desperately to put out one of the worst fires so far this year, according to government officials. Fortunately, there were no casualties, and property damage was kept to a minimum because of the blaze’s location.

Too Hot to Handle

The average temperature on a typical Cypriot day this summer is above 100F, and isn’t falling. As everything continues to dry out, the chances of wildfires increase.

This happened last week when a blaze in the central mountain region of the Paphos forest in the southwestern part of the country wiped out almost 50 acres of forest area before firefighters could contain it.

It’s an area that is mostly uninhabited, but which could have still threatened residents. It’s also less than an hour from Limassol, home of the CoDM.

Firefighters began battling the blaze on Monday, working all night to get it under control. It took 100 firefighters and seven aircraft to put it out, but not before the fire decimated acres of forest land that was home to pine and oak trees, as well as a myriad of wildlife.

Charalambos Alexandrou, the director of the Department of Forests for Cyprus, blamed the fire on uninsulated overhead powerlines. The Department of Forests told local media outlet CyBC that the lines are in such bad shape that a fire could start just by a bird landing on one.

CoDM Could Boost Cyprus

As things stand right now, Cyprus fails to attract the wealthy, primarily because of its unimpressive infrastructure and suboptimal geographical location. This results in the island’s overall unattractiveness to the elite demographic.

Edward Granville, the CEO of Red Savannah, a prominent London-based company catering to affluent travelers, told media outlet the Financial Mirror that Greece is the place to be. Granville emphasized that the country has outshined Italy, which previously held the top spot and was long regarded as the go-to destination for globetrotters.

The affluent class typically spends around $44K on their vacations, according to Granville, while there are those who go all-out and splurge up to a staggering $1.1 million. He clarified that Cyprus stands apart from the Greek islands because of its distance from neighboring islands. It’s easy to travel to Greece and go island-hopping. But Cyprus stands almost completely alone. Granville asserts, “Cyprus cannot cater to the demands of this clientele.”

Thanos Michaelides, the chair of the Cyprus Hotel Association, partially agrees. He admits that the rich and famous visit Cyprus only as a “rare exception,” but is more optimistic about its future.

Michaelides sees CoDM as a major attraction for the ultra-wealthy, a class that includes high rollers who can drop more money on a casino table and leave it there. He believes it will “offer visitors something that cannot be found in the wider region” and give Cyprus a boost. For that to happen, though, more work will have to go into infrastructure and protecting Cypriot resources.