The Paphos regional tourism board (Etap) announced that a delegation travelled to Israel this week in order to promote the district as a travel destination, particularly in the context of Paphos winning this year’s European Capital of Smart Tourism competition.

The delegation, which was comprised of an Etap representative and various Paphos hoteliers, travelled to Tel Aviv to attend the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) 2023 expo.

The IMTM is a global networking and industry event designed to connect professionals from all levels of business and service in the tourism and travel sector as a whole.

“Etap Paphos and the organisations that support it participated again this year in the tourism fair with the aim of further promoting wedding ceremonies, cycling tourism and other forms of sports tourism, the district’s title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2023, but also the unique experiences it has to offer all year round, whether these are for short or longer trips,” the board said.

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Kato Paphos port

The board also said that there are further opportunities for growth in this market due to the sufficient air connectivity between Tel Aviv and Paphos through Ryanair, combined with Paphos’ strong promotion in recent times, as well as the excellent results recorded over the past few years, with the exception of the two years blighted by the pandemic and the subsequent restrictive measures.

What is more, the board said that for the coming summer period, which traditionally kicks off on April 1 and concludes on October 31, preliminary airline booking schedules reflect an excellent level of connectivity between Cyprus and Israel.

Based on airline schedule plans, more than 55 incoming scheduled flights are expected per week, with 17 flights connecting Paphos International Airport to Israel, completed by a further 38 flights connecting Larnaca Airport to Cyprus’ neighbouring country.

According to the available figure, the Israel tourist market performed very well in 2022, reaching 95 per cent on the figures recorded in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, with 277,000 arrivals visiting Cyprus, ranking it as the second largest market for Paphos in terms of pure arrival volume.

Finally, Paphos’ tourism associations and bodies consider Israel to be one of the district’s key tourist markets going forward, noting that it can further contribute to easing seasonality and extending the tourist season.

The Research and Innovation Foundation (Idek) this week issued a statement clarifying various aspects of its recently-announced Disrupt programme, which aims to allocate a total of €10 million to innovative businesses, with the ultimate aim being to help facilitate the involvement of Venture Capital investors.

The Disrupt Programme was designed on the basis of specific recommendations of the European Commission for Cyprus, as well as the findings of various studies, such as the study by the Competitiveness Council for Vision 2035, studies by the Ministry of Finance, as well as others, which were prepared by international consulting firms,” the foundation said.

Furthermore, the foundation said that as part of the preparation of the specific studies, consultations were carried out with the research and Innovation ecosystem, as well as a large number of entities with economic and social activity in Cyprus.

“The findings of the studies demonstrate that, despite the significant improvement of our country’s performance in the field of research and innovation, there are still significant weaknesses in access to alternative sources of financing, including Venture Capital (VC) investment funds, which are a driving force for the development of innovators start-ups,” Idek stated.

“The financing gap has been estimated between €30 million and €63 million, with particular difficulty in raising Seed and Series A funds,” it added.

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The Cypriot startup ecosystem has grown in recent years

The foundation further said that the Disrupt programme with a budget of €10 million is designed on the basis of the flagship programme EIC Accelerator of the European Innovation Council, and aims at the exponential growth of innovative businesses by leveraging high-risk capital from investment funds.

The programme takes into account that in Europe, the average Seed investment was €1.5 million, while Series A investment exceeded €8 million in 2021.

The programme builds on the Pre-Seed, Seed and Innovate schemes already announced by the foundation which aim at the creation and development of innovative businesses with an international orientation, for which the foundation provides various amounts ranging from €100,000 to €1 million.

“The objectives of the programme are multiple,” the foundation said.

“The main objective is exponential growth, thus increasing the extroversion and visibility of the domestic ecosystem abroad and at the same time reducing the risk of investing in the emerging and largely unknown innovation ecosystem of Cyprus, making it more attractive for attracting investment capital,” it added.

With the completion of the open dialogue process and taking into account the comments and questions submitted, the foundation said that it wishes to clarify and inform any interested parties of a number of amendments and clarifications to the programme.

According to the invitation, the intention of the foundation is to announce multiple cut-off dates within the year 2023, until the available budget of €10 million is exhausted.

The first €5 million will be allocated by March 23, 2023, followed by another €5 million by June 1, 2022. Any unallocated funds will be allocated based on the results of the second phase of evaluation and will be awarded by December 1, 2023.

In the event that the €10 million budget is used up, the foundation will consider the possibility of allocating an additional budget, which will be allocated before the third and final cut-off date.

The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) ended Friday, February 17 with profits.

The general Cyprus Stock Market Index was at 103.23 points at 13:24 during the day, reflecting an increase of 0.53 per cent over the previous day of trading.

The FTSE / CySE 20 Index was at 61.36 points, representing a rise of 0.55 per cent.

The total value of transactions came up to €96,449.

In terms of the sub-indexes, the main, investment firm and hotel indexes rose by 0.81 per cent, 2.78 per cent and 0.72 per cent respectively, while the alternative index fell by 0.14 per cent.

The biggest investment interest was attracted by the Bank of Cyprus (+0.88 per cent), Demetra Holdings (+2.97 per cent), Petrolina (-0.84 per cent), Hellenic Bank (+0.3 per cent), and Logicom (-0.98 per cent).