- MGR: Invest Cyprus acts as a one-stop-shop solution for foreign investors looking for opportunities in Cyprus. Which sectors are receiving the most interest from foreign investors? What are some upcoming growth sectors in Cyprus?
Campanellas: Invest Cyprus has a mandate to attract and facilitate foreign direct investment in the country. Our aim is clear: Establish Cyprus as a world-class destination for international business and investments, adding significant value to the economy and helping the country take on a leading role, as an international business center. To accomplish this, we help foreign investors find value and ensure that foreign companies find a home here.
At Invest Cyprus, we act as a single point of contact, offering comprehensive, one-stop service, which is always tailored to meet investor’s needs. Part of our mission is to help foreign investors grow their businesses and improve their competitiveness.
Any international company wishing to choose Cyprus as its next location receives is guided through every stage of the relocation process – from start to finish. The services offered to international companies especially the tech companies exploring Cyprus as a location , include: The provision of all information needed to make the transition; organization of site visits, intermediary action with all public authorities needed for legal and practical issues, support with recruitment and other relocation needs and aftercare services.
We are developing an international ICT cluster, maintaining the country’s compelling advantages as a location for hosting development centers and regional headquarters for multinational companies.
Invest Cyprus is also looking to attract institutional investors, such as investment funds, private equity, family offices and sovereign funds. We have prepared a “Project Bank” of high-value investment projects that align with key government strategies.
This offers incentives for investment in major projects in strategic sectors of the economy such as Tourism and Hospitality, Education, Renewable Energy and Healthcare.”
Invest Cyprus is also focusing on promoting Cyprus as a European destination for the registration of investment funds, but also as a destination for fund managers, aiming at strengthening the professional services industry. Cyprus is reported to show the largest annual increase in the value of assets under management in recent years. Its visibility has been greatly enhanced by being able to list Cyprus funds on international platforms such as Bloomberg, Clearstream, Morningstar and Refinitiv.
According to the latest available data published by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, the number of investment funds increased to 283 in the fourth quarter of 2020, while there was also an increase in the assets under their management, which totaled €8.58 billion.
- MGR: The pandemic highlighted the need for economies to diversify, innovate and embrace digitalization and for that, Invest Cyprus has turned its attention to attracting innovative companies to set-up their headquarters in the island.
Campanellas: Especially during these unprecedented times, digital technologies are booming, and Cyprus can only follow the current trends to keep up with the global competition. Already home to several international tech companies, lately Cyprus has made concrete steps forward to secure its future as both an established international business centre and an emerging EU tech hub. The dynamic fintech movement in Cyprus comprises nearly 250 fintech including start-ups with a community of more than 8,000 ICT professionals.
Cyprus has long recognized it must continually change and challenge itself to remain relevant and it is investing heavily in technology and innovation to enhance its global competitiveness. A number of major international ICT companies currently have their regional headquarters or significant operations in Cyprus including NCR, Amdocs, Wargaming, eToro, Exness, Nexters Global, Playtech, TheSoul Publishing and Easybrain. The Cyprus Tech Association, representing all major international ICT companies established in the Republic, leads the way for the development and expansion of the industry.
Innovative research and a rapidly growing start-up ecosystem are supported by a generous package of state and EU funds. Having recognized the potential of the country as a tech hub, Invest Cyprus has been instrumental in pushing forward and implementing a set of new incentives allowing for faster relocation procedures for international companies and friendlier Immigration Rules for non-EU nationals, which will ultimately further deepen the island’s tech talent pool.
- MGR: Cyprus and Israel have developed a close alliance, a business partnership and close friendship, especially during recent years. Please describe the current level of inward FDI from Israel, and the main sectors of cooperation.
Campanellas: We are witnessing a positive shift in our relations, exploring shared interests, identifying opportunities and embarking on joint projects in the fields of energy, hospitality and tourism, technology, healthcare and finance. The recent agreement for the development of the Larnaca port and marina, a project worth more than €1 billion, , is clearly a vote of confidence by Israeli investors in our country’s potential.
Israeli companies already working in Cyprus include the Israeli Fattal Hotel Group, which is currently building its fifth Leonardo hotel in Cyprus, Amdocs, eToro, Playtech. EPlane, Tempo and Diplomat. What’s more, the Israeli investor Teddi Saggi has made a significant investment in Cyprus with the creation of luxurious office space in Nicosia, the Labs Tower.
Over the last few years, bilateral relations have also served as a foundation for regional and international strategic partnerships, including the establishment of the Trilateral partnership between Cyprus, Greece, and Israel and the formation of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF).
- MGR: Tourism is the backbone of Cyprus’ economy. However, there is still room to grow especially in alternative types of tourism as well as in becoming a premium touristic destination. What are the current investment opportunities in the hospitality sector?
Campanellas: The tourism and hospitality sector constitutes a strategic sector for Invest Cyprus, with the organization building on a dedicated portfolio of diversified tourism and hospitality investment opportunities that exist in the local market.
Tourism is one the island’s most important sectors for economic growth. However, even pre-pandemic, Cyprus had made efforts to cast off its traditional tourist destination image and focus on promoting other important sectors, especially in terms of attracting valuable investments in technology, innovation, infrastructure, health, education and more. Undoubtedly, tourism will remain one of the cash cows for the economy, however, there is room to grow in alternative types of tourism.
New opportunities in Cyprus had been possible by the government’s National Tourism strategy to turn the island into a year-round destination and attract investment into thematic areas, such as medical tourism, sports tourism and investment into the rural areas. Potential projects and specific incentives are being managed by a dedicated unit, TourInvest, responsible for attracting and facilitating investments in tourism and hospitality. The long-term vision is to turn Cyprus into the 30 most competitive tourism destinations worldwide.
Large-scale infrastructure projects and mixed-use developments, such as new hotel projects, rehabilitation centres, conference and sports centres are attracting a considerable amount of investment.
We are also targeting specific groups of tourists for business and medical purposes – and these tourists will come to the island all year long. The mountainous and rural areas are already being improved as authentic tourism destinations, and agritourism is also being heavily promoted.
Invest Cyprus is currently examining incentives and mechanism schemes to improve and make the investment environment and procedures even more attractive to entice more interest in the country. Apart from the recently launched “Project Bank,” Invest Cyprus is also working with renowned Tourism and Hospitality Advisors to elaborate a comprehensive and long-term National Investment Strategy.
- MGR: Please describe the potential for Cyprus’ to become a regional medical destination.
Campanellas: Recognized as the country in Europe that best managed the pandemic, Cyprus is pinning its economic recovery on expanding medical tourism and becoming a European hub for patients rehabilitating from surgery and illness.
The Cyprus government has pegged medical tourism as one of the pillars of its strategic action plan for enhancing Cyprus tourism for the next decade to 2030 and is currently developing a new legal framework that will promote investment into new rehabilitation services on the island.
Before the travel restrictions, Cyprus was already attracting interest as a wellness destination with several spa resorts and rural retreats. Cyprus was in a position to offer high quality medical care at lower costs than other countries, and its strategic position made it attractive to ‘medical tourists’ seeking hospital treatment abroad.
Modern private hospitals and clinics, medical facilities with state-of-the art equipment and one of the highest ratios of doctors, surgeons and other medical staff in Europe – many of whom are trained in the UK or US – help to distinguish Cyprus as a potential health destination. Together with the roll-out of a new national health system last year, and Cyprus’s longstanding reputation as a tourism destination, this development effort has already encouraged investment in medical tourism, rehabilitation services and medical schools.
5. MGR: What is your final message to Israeli investors regarding Cyprus?
Campanellas: The proximity of the two countries, and our strong political and economic ties are shaping Cyprus as one of Israel’s most promising strategic partners. Cyprus is an ideal destination for Israeli companies for the establishment of EU and international operations. Cyprus can also serve as an ideal point of entry to the EU for Israeli companies as it currently maintains more than 65 double tax treaties with other countries. At Invest Cyprus, the state’s investment authority, we stand ready to support any potential or existing investors providing tailored facilitation.
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About Invest Cyprus:
First point of contact: Invest Cyprus acts as the first point of contact to international investors and provides valid and useful information to potential investors in developing their business case for investment into the country. Also, Invest Cyprus provides information on projects of interest to investors, while we also assist with site visits and licensing procedures.
Close communication with Governmental Authorities and Introduction of FDI related incentives: Invest Cyprus is in close collaboration with all governmental authorities and public institutions in order to assist with all the relevant matters that foreign investors face.
Maintains an active facilitation role: Support aftercare and investor relation. In the relocation process, we are here to assist companies with:
- Setting up a business in Cyprus
- Finding a suitable office space
- Finding suitable talent
- Getting acquainted with the local market and business matters
- Establishing contact with the local media
- All the relocation and living aspects for expats and families