The Cyprus Tourism Organisation has been abolished, and replaced by the country’s first dedicated ministry of tourism.

Tourism was previously part of a wider ministerial portfolio that also covered energy, commerce and industry.

Savvas Perdios has been appointed as deputy minister for tourism, with his title reflecting constitutional constraints on the permitted number of ministries in Cyprus, said a report by Bloomberg.

He moves from the private sector, having previously been chief operations officer at Louis Hotels, which has 25 properties in Cyprus and Greece.

The Cyprus Mail reported that the government closed down the CTO because it was “a slow-moving, inflexible, bureaucratic organisation, unable to take the quick decisions necessary to exploit changing market conditions”.

However, the newspaper commented: “It is rather difficult to believe the deputy ministry will be much faster in taking decisions.”

It claimed that Perdios will find it hard to turn the deputy ministry into a flexible, responsive organisation, and warned that “government bodies are notoriously bad at customer relations”.

Reports also highlighted how Cyprus had a record year in 2018, with visitor numbers from January to November up by almost 8% year-on-year. Arrivals are expected to reach almost four million for the full year.

Planet Holidays – a member of Aito, The Specialist Travel Association – urged the new minister to support the UK tourism industry “with closer working ties with specialist tour operators”.

Harry Kyrillou, Planet Holidays’ commercial director, said: “We welcome this appointment of Savvas Perdios as Cyprus’ first deputy minister of tourism and look forward to seeing more investment in closer co-operation with specialist tour operators that have dedicated decades to promoting the island.

“Niche markets are as important to Cyprus’ tourism as those of mass-market tourism. We know that Cyprus’ popularity especially with the UK is strong but we can improve on this by diversifying the messages and providing a year-round product that will appeal to all ages.”