The House voted this week to scrap the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), essentially transferring tourism responsibilities from a large bureaucracy to a leaner structure to boost flexibility and competitiveness.
The vote came down to 32 in favor and 17 against, with ruling party DISY and socialist opposition EDEK managing to pass their amendments to the government bill through the House.
The new undersecretary position, which will report directly to the president, will begin on 2 January 2019, following an amendment by DISY that pushed the date back from November this year.
Despite efforts over the years to make improvements in the tourism industry, observers argued it was difficult under the current structure to implement either short or long term plans, such as adopting a comprehensive approach to all-year-round tourism or adapting to new demands and opportunities in shifting markets.
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has praised the vote in parliament, saying that Cyprus, as a country that relies heavily on tourism, ought to have a decentralized government structure in order to set course and take initiative away from bureaucratic procedures bogged down in details and formalities.
Left opposition party AKEL had proposed draft legislation that would protect the current CTO and had campaigned for some of the responsibilities and internal structure to remain the same.
But none of the AKEL amendments could pass the House, and as a result the CTO as it is known today will cease to exist next year.