A Cyprus-UK Business Forum organised by a number of agencies with a stake in both countries highlighted the opportunities for British businesses and investors in the Mediterranean island, especially in the light of the forthcoming Brexit.
The Cypriot Minister for Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism recounted the advantages of investing and doing business in Cyprus: the country’s EU and eurozone membership; the reliable legal framework; the strategic location; the sound taxation system; the well-developed infrastructure; the human talent; the ease of doing business; the high quality of life.
Digging into his multifaceted portfolio, Mr Lakkotrypis highlighted a few of the sectors that could attract investors’ interest.
In tourism and hospitality, he referred to the record breaking year in terms of international tourist arrivals. For the first year Cyprus is projected to have attracted more than 3 million tourists by the end of 2016. There has been a 11.1% year-on-year increase of British visitors in the first nine months of the year. The respective increases are higher when one looks at the Russian pool market (44.5%) or the Israeli one (42.8%).
Mr Lakkotrypis also made special reference to the energy sector. The prospect of Cyprus becoming an energy hub in the eastern Mediterranean keeps bringing in investment by the big international energy firms, thus aligning Cyprus’s interests with those of much more powerful and influential governments.
Then there is shipping, with the small island boasting one of the largest fleets of commercial ships in the world, the investment funds management hub that has been created over the last few years and the island’s focus on technology and information.
Last but certainly not least, Cyprus’s long tradition on high standard professional services. As the minister noted, in the first ten months of the current year there was a 22% increase of new firms’ registration in Cyprus, a rise for the 14th consecutive month. “Trust is coming back,” commented Mr Lakkotrypis, referring to the confidence breakdown following the sharp and bitter recession of 2013.
In terms of Brexit, the Cypriot minister said that what Cyprus is offering is not an alternative base for UK firms that may have concerns regarding the future outside the EU, but a “complementary” home.
According to a UK financier present at the London event, “the Cypriot pitch is excellent; not trying to ‘steal’ UK firms like the Germans, the French, the Dutch or the Irish, but cleverly offering the best of both worlds.”/ΙΒΝΑ