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Lakkotrypis courts possible UK investors

Giorgos Lakkotrypis in London

The opportunities and incentives that Cyprus offers potential investors were presented by a delegation of Cypriot officials, headed by Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis during a ‘Cyprus-UK Business Forum’ on Wednesday.

The event was organised at the City of London by the ministry, the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It attracted around 250 investors, financiers and professionals.

In his presentation Lakkotrypis highlighted the investment opportunities in the energy and tourism sectors, as well as the opportunity offered by the decision to establish a Science and Technology Park in Pentakomo village in Cyprus. He also referred to shipping and the services sector. All these sectors of the economy had proved to be resilient because they were “never based on a bubble”, he said.

Lakkotruypis said the positive growth in the first half of the current year indicated the end of recession, which was already less severe than expected. “The economic sentiment and confidence are improving significantly,” added Lakkotrypis, who then pointed to the forecasts of a 0.5% growth in 2015, 1.4% in 2016 and 2% in 2017.

Referring to the hydrocarbons discoveries in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone and in the wider eastern Mediterranean, the minister noted that in a region which is “on fire”, Cyprus is proving itself to be a base of stability, politically and economically.

He made a special reference to the recent massive natural gas reserve discovered in Egypt’s EEZ, commenting that it created new prospects and changed the landscape . The combined reserves in the area could make the eastern Mediterranean “a truly alternative source of supply for the EU”, he said.

As for Cyprus, Lakkotrypis said the government was examining all the available exploitation options: “Cyprus is positioned to become a centre of activity in the oil and gas industry… The decisions that we will make about infrastructure now, will determine our role in the eastern Mediterranean in the next few decades.”
On tourism he pointed to figures from the beginning of the year until August which showed 1.84 million arrivals, the best performance since 2002. He also presented statistical data which showed significant year on year increases in arrivals from the UK (16.3%), Greece (41.6%), Germany (34%), Israel (46.2%) and France (30.6%). A decrease has been recorded in arrivals from Russia (19.6%) and Scandinavia (10.1%).

Summarising the National Tourism Strategy, Lakkotrypis said it was based on combating seasonality, improving connectivity, achieving differentiation and competing on experiences.

In terms of investment opportunities in tourism, he presented plans for awarding one casino licence, as well as licences for marinas and golf courses.
For the Science and Technology Park, he said the tender was expected within October, and that the government was seeking a strategic investor with relevant experience and know-how.

Lakkotrypis also held a separate meeting with officials from BG Group, an oil exploration and production and LNG company, active in more than 20 countries. During the meeting the two sides discussed downstream, midstream and upstream options for Cyprus and Egypt. (CNA)



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