Accor’s Mattias Innocenti: Larnaca offers many points of interest from a tourist point of view

“Larnaca offers many points of interest from a tourist point of view, both in terms of natural beauty and historical sites; it was therefore logical that our interest was focused on this destination,” says Mattias Innocenti, Senior Director Development Accor Italy, Greece & Cyprus | Premium, Midscale & Economy, explaining the reason behind the opening of the Mercure Larnaca Beach Resort last May.

In an interview with CBN, Innocenti talks about what prompted Accor Group to open its first Mercure hotel in Larnaca, the Mercure Larnaca Beach Resort, while he also reveals that there are plans to open more: "We target cities and resort destinations such as Nicosia, Limassol, Ayia Napa or Paphos. Of our 14 Premium and Midscale brands, 8-9 could be present one day in Cyprus. "

Mercure Larnaca Beach Resort opened recently in Larnaca, following a collaboration with Solaar Hospitality. How did you come to choose Larnaca as a destination?

Our partner Solaar Hospitality, which invested in the project, is very solid and capable and we are proud of this first collaboration.

The Mediterranean basin is an area of great interest to the Accor group in terms of development and Cyprus is among the destinations we are looking for. Larnaca offers many points of interest from a tourist point of view, both in terms of natural beauty and historical sites; it was therefore logical that our interest was focused on this destination. Moreover, the airport is only a few kilometres away, with direct connection from Europe, but also from the Middle East thus being able to benefit from the distribution power of a large international group like Accor.

How do you asses the tourism landscape in Cyprus?

Cyprus is a crossroad of people, an authentic destination with a rich archaeological heritage, an ancient history, a wonderful sea, and a rich gastronomic offer. Tourist interest in the island remained strong over the years and it will be for years to come, given the many opportunities to offer valuable experiences to tourists.

The market is very correlated with regional geopolitical events. The war in Ukraine has had a strong impact on arrivals from Russia, an important feeder market. Of course UK guests represent an important part of stays however the share of Scandinavians, Poles or Germans is also meaningful.

How does Mercure engage with the local community and culture at its various locations?

Mercure hotels are locally inspired properties that provide guests a portal to the destination. At Mercure, guests are inspired to Discover Local through the authentic hotel décor, love for local cuisine and the passionate teams, who always offer a warm welcome and are extremely knowledgeable about what to see and do in the destination.

What is the target market of Mercure and what are the key amenities and services it offers to the guests?

Going beyond the ordinary for business and leisure travellers, Mercure team members are known for their passion, enthusiasm and warmth, sharing their knowledge of the local scene, providing insider tips and entertaining guests with tales of history and local folklore. Mercure hotels are conveniently located in city centres, by the sea or in the mountains, with more than 810 hotels in 60+ countries.

Can you share some insights into the emerging trends of the competitive landscape of the global hospitality sector?

Thanks to AI, hoteliers should be able to improve the customer journey, personalise service, and improve operations efficiency. This could therefore unlock values for investor and hoteliers.

In light of the climate crisis, global brands and consumers alike are reconsidering their role in our planetary community. Now, the sector must look inward to find new paths towards environmentally friendly development.

Consumers are now more interested in meaningful travel. They may look at taking fewer trips, but the length of stay is expected to be longer and spent in the best properties. Our latest reports show that despite the constant increase in digitisation and technology, there is now a greater shift towards the human touch and personalisation that guests seek. The emotional and experiential role of travel is also more important than ever.

Providing Experiences: live and eat like a local, become a place where travellers and locals meet.

Wellness: not just limited to the Spa area but integrated into all areas of the hotel. Menu planning, materials, light and music etc.

What are your future plans for Cyprus?

We target cities and resort destinations such as Nicosia, Limassol, Ayia Napa or Paphos. Of our 14 Premium and Midscale brands, 8-9 could be present one day in Cyprus.

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