Lakkotrypis Addresses Cyprus-UK Business Event in London

The Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis presented the benefits of Cyprus as an investment destination during a business event organised in London on Tuesday 7 November evening to coincide with his presence in the city for this year’s World Travel Market, the Cyprus News Agency reports.
Lakkotrypis was addressing a selected audience of London professionals in tourism, finance, commerce, energy, media and entertainment and other economic sectors. The event was organised by the Ministry and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with the UK-Cyprus Business Council, the Cyprus-UK Business Association and Invest Cyprus.
Lakkotrypis said that some of the details that make Cyprus a unique investment destination are the exceptional quality of the island’s human capital, the modern and transparent legal and tax framework, the recently restructured banking sector, the country’s location and its excellent professional services.
He presented the figures attesting to the stable increase in GDP over the last years and he gave special emphasis in the impressive record of tourism since 2015, both in increased revenue and arrivals (estimated to top 3.6 million this year). As the Minister commented, “the resilience and further growth of tourism create new investment opportunities.”
He did however add that Cyprus needs to diversify its tourism product, but also to face up to challenges such as the change in exchange rate between the pound and the euro caused by the uncertainty over Brexit.
Lakkotrypis also briefly explained Cyprus’s strategy to restructure tourism by 2030, making special reference to the provision for a new ministerial department dedicated to tourism. “I say now is the time to make changes; now that we are not cornered and hat we are ahead of the curve,” said the Minister.
He also presented the data showing increases in exports both in goods, driven by halloumi, and mainly in services, most notably in shipping and tourism. In his reference to the hydrocarbons discovered in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Lakkotrypis said that the Eastern Mediterranean could be an alternative energy route for Europe. He analysed the benefits that natural gas exploitation could have for Cyprus, saying that the government has a strategy incorporating potential benefits for the economy over the short, medium and longer term. “By the end of next year we will have a pretty good idea of the reserves in the Cypriot EEZ and that will be the moment when we take important decisions on the best way to proceed with exploitation,” said the Minister.
Summing up, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that Cyprus is trying to be a “predictable” partner for investors, open to discussing any suggestions. Asked by a member of the audience to comment on the challenge of Brexit, he said that Cyprus is really sad to see a strong ally leave the EU, adding that more clarity on the kind of Brexit that is pursued is required by the UK.
Lakkotrypis also said that Cyprus is offering UK-based companies a “complementary” EU base post-Brexit. In his short remarks, the Cyprus High Commissioner in the UK Euripides Evriviades spoke of the “umbilical cord” in the relationship between the two countries, adding that this relationship will continue after Brexit.
The President of the UK-Cyprus Business Council Peter Droussiotis said that the event “symbolises the uniqueness of the UK as a partner to Cyprus and of the uniqueness of the extremely valuable and multi-faceted relationship that exists between these two countries on a range of different levels.”
He also stressed the importance of the populous Cypriot diaspora in the UK. “The fact that this community of business and professional people is organically integrated into both Cypriot and British business and finance structures and institutions represents a vital strategic advantage and a lever of influence, which consolidate and reinforce this relationship,” said  Droussiotis.
On behalf of the Cyprus-UK Business Association its Chair Dinos Lefkaritis called upon UK investors to do business in Cyprus’s real estate, hydrocarbons and professional services, inter alia.