We asked Cypriot business and political leaders about their insight on the changing brand of Cyprus since the image crisis following the 2013 financial crisis
Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus:
Cyprus has the potential to become an energy hub in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean. Further business and foreign investment-friendly measures have been announced by the government, in the hope of positively supplementing efforts to increase Cyprus’ competitiveness and create a more effective business environment.
Brand Cyprus can be synopsised in the following: strengthening and maintaining traditional productive sectors of the economy; diversifying and tapping into new areas of investment; fortifying and continuously optimising the institutional framework to make Cyprus an even more competitive and attractive destination for doing business.
Harris Georgiades, Ministry of Finance:
We urgently need to work through our political divisions and differences; we need to find solutions, in order to create a completely new state of play in the entire Eastern Mediterranean region based on inclusiveness, cooperation, commerce, travel and investment opportunities.
Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Industry and Energy:
We need to position ourselves as a place where you can do business not only limited to Cyprus, but with many other destinations as well. We aim to communicate that we are predictable, transparent and certainly business friendly.
Demetra Kalogerou, Chairwoman, Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission:
Cyprus is becoming an international business centre. That is what comes to my mind when I think about Cyprus. The second image that comes to my mind is tourism. It is a good destination for tourists as well, because of the climate, culture and resources that we have.
Charis Papacharalambous, Director General, Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency:
Moving away from the negative image the crisis left us, we are rebuilding a different Cyprus brand beyond the “sun and sea” of the past; Cyprus has much more to offer than sun and sea. Brand Cyprus must change into a quality notion in a number of sectors and redevelop with the government’s encouragement. Although a brand is very difficult to change, and it will not happen overnight, in a couple of years it will be possible to see the new brand.
Nicholas Hadjiyiannis, CEO, Cooperative Central Bank:
We are moving towards a more balanced brand. We are moving away from just international business on a transaction basis. We are trying to add value and bring in businesses with real substance. We are moving towards a more specific and quality-based brand.
Euripides L Evriviades, High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus to the UK:
Our records show that last year approximately 872,000 British tourists visited Cyprus; this year we expect an 8-10 percent increase. The UK market has consistently been the highest source of tourists to Cyprus, representing just under 40 percent of total tourists. This is attributed to the quality of the Cyprus tourism product, its excellent hotels, pristine beaches (57 of which have a Blue Flag), high quality of service, variety of scenery and rich history. We also speak English and drive on the “correct” side of the road, i.e. the left.
Nicos Peristianis, Founder and Council President of the University of Nicosia:
I think we are a bridge; Cyprus is a bridge of civilisations and ideas. We have been playing that role throughout history and I think we have a very important role to play in the future. That is why we have such good relations with Africa and the Middle East. We want to link Europe to these parts of the world.
Androulla Pittas, Cyprus-UK Business Association:
There was a lot of unfair criticism of Cyprus as a jurisdiction, so we have great challenges to sell Cyprus as a product for new investors; however we have shown them that we have done it. It has happened in the last two years, which was the most difficult time, so from now on it will be easier, given the degree of challenge. I think it will be easier now because we have something solid to sell. I also want to mention entrepreneurship because there is a small growing community of engineers and IT specialists, people who would normally be employed by companies in Cyprus, who instead have decided to create products and use innovation for themselves. Both public and private sector support these initiatives; it’s like a joint venture happening to support this growth, hoping that someday something good will come out of it.