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Excerpt from recent interview of Minister of Commerce



Excerpt from recent interview of Minister of Commerce

Mr George Lakotripis, as published in the July 2013 edition of Country profiler magazine.

“We are working hard to relay the message globally that Cyprus is stable and we are open for business. Our banking sector has been hurt, but with the right priorities and actions we can ensure Cyprus remains an attractive investment destination. In the mid-term, it is crucial to advance projects that have been in the pipeline for some time, such as marinas, golf courses, photovoltaic parks and other large development projects. The top priority for the long-term is to develop our oil and gas industry to properly manage this new potential income for Cyprus.

There are still various investment opportunities in tourism. We are focusing on diversifying the product and extending the season to 12 months. Currently we have capital assets such as hotels sitting idle for three to four months and we need to utilise them all year round. We have investment flowing into the marina projects and golf courses – and new investment opportunities will emerge from the planned resort casinos. We are aiming to advance fast and estimate we will have a limited number of licences. We are now consulting with major casino operators to see what model would be most viable for Cyprus. This new industry is attractive to investors and we are looking at developing one or more casinos as part of thematic parks including conference centres, spas and hotels to attract all kinds of visitors.

The energy sector as a whole has great potential, and the developing oil and gas sector will provide great opportunities for companies to set up regional bases in Cyprus. We are at a critical milestone today, as in addition to our own hydrocarbons exploration, neighbours Israel and Egypt are advancing fast and Lebanon is starting its own exploration activities. Cyprus is strategically positioned as a country to attract logistics, petrochemical and other oil and gas companies to set up on the island – and we are seeing increased interest from big multinationals. Our location establishes the island as a gateway between Europe and the Middle East, as well as Africa and Asia. The development of the renewable energy sector also provides investment opportunities, as we are planning to bring photovoltaic energy to 15,000 Cypriot households over the next three years. We are seeing an industry evolving around renewable energy, which will also help us to meet our EU targets.”

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