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Cyprus looks to become the next investment hotspot post-pandemic

After strategically lowering the number of COVID-19 cases, Cyprus looks to ramp up ambitious tourism plans to attract international investment post-pandemic.

Over the last few years, Cyprus has secured its place on the global investment map. The small Mediterranean country has seen a surge of development in recent years, with landmark architectural projects and mixed-use coastal developments mushrooming across the island attracting a swathe of international investment.

Just like the rest of the world though, new projects and plans were put on hold and Cyprus entered into a 10-week lockdown earlier this year but reopened its airports in June and pledged free medical treatment for any COVID-19 cases to draw tourists back to its beaches. Its handling of the pandemic was hailed as impressive, with the government also spending about 10 percent of the gross domestic product to support businesses and workers.

With the country now open for business, plans around tourism, hospitality, leisure and entertainment are back on the agenda as it looks to attract foreign direct investment post-pandemic.

Cyprus attractive prospect for international investors

Adonis Antoniou, Managing Director of Cylanders, a property investment network and real estate advisory based in Cyprus, told Cityscape Intelligence that Cyprus has emerged as an attractive prospect to international investors due to its strategic location, overall standard of living, connectivity to Europe, tax-friendly business climate, transparent regulatory structure and ease of doing business.

“There are several big developments in the pipeline and government continues to push large-scale mixed-use projects that include recreation and tourism. There are four major marinas that are currently being built worth 2.5 – 3 billion euros; Larnaca, Ayia Napa, Paralimni, and Pafos. In addition, for the first time, Cyprus has approved a gaming license for a casino in the country. There will be four satellite casinos – one in each city – and they are building a casino resort worth half a billion euros in Limassol, which will be the largest casino resort in Europe once built,” he says.

Antoniou also expects heightened interest for commercial property after Cyprus made a significant discovery of natural gas offshore in 2019, highlighting the Mediterranean island’s prospective role as an alternative source of energy to Europe.

“The recent discovery of oil in Cyprus has seen multi-national companies look at high-end commercial and residential property and we expect this to be the case over the next few decades,” he said.

Antoniou will be spearheading the Cypriot pavilion at this year’s Cityscape, taking place in Dubai between the 15th – 17th November at Dubai World Trade Centre, where his company Cylanders will be driving global investment interest in Cyprus’ diverse real estate sector by gathering the island’s top developers to showcase their latest projects to Gulf investors.

Cyprus Investment Program

As a fully-fledged European Union member offering a convenient route to European citizenship through its real estate investment programme, major projects in Cyprus are driven by foreign investors.

“In fact, one in two real estate projects is driven by foreign investors. These are funds that are directly flowing from outside Europe, with the major markets being Russia, China and the UAE,” says Antoniou.

Through the sale of citizenship, Cyprus has raised 4.8 billion euros since 2013 (figures from 2018), and it is estimated that approximately 3,300 people have been granted citizenship through the Cypriot program. However, in 2018 a decision was made to cap the maximum number of citizenships granted to investors at 700 per year, something that the government might have to relook at post-COVID-19.

Photo Credit: Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash

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