Here are the top business stories in Cyprus from the week starting April 22:

Former Cyprus Airways CEO Paul Sies has joined travel-tech company Journey Mentor as president and chief executive officer, according to an announcement released on Monday. Journey Mentor, based in the United Kingdom, provides a range of white-label services to small and medium-sized airlines, travel agents, and TMCs within the travel ecosystem, including searching, booking, pricing, buying, and inventory control.

In a related vein, the Travel Expo Cyprus 2024, organised by the Association of Cyprus Travel and Tourism Agents (ACTA), commenced over the weekend of April 19 to 21, ushering in a new tourist season with a wave of optimism. The exhibition, attended by 45 exhibitors, was inaugurated at the state fairgrounds in Nicosia, with the joint inauguration by Deputy Minister of Tourism Kostas Koumis and the Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus Ioannis Papameletiou, alongside welcoming remarks from the President of ACTA, Charis Papacharalambous.

Simultaneously, the inaugural Commonwealth Ocean Ministers Meeting was held in Cyprus, where delegates committed to advancing discussions at upcoming global summits. A consensus was reached on leading ocean protection and management initiatives under the Commonwealth Blue Charter, with a proposed Commonwealth Ocean Declaration expected to be adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa this October, just before the UN Climate Summit, COP29, scheduled for November in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Further enhancing Cyprus’ global engagement, the country’s Chief Scientist Demetris Skourides led a talented group of students from the Neapolis University of Paphos to Luxor, Egypt. There, they competed in the final round of the prestigious ICPC competition, marking the first time a team from a Cypriot university has secured a spot in the finals of this globally recognised event.

Adding to the country’s vibrant scene, the Reflect Festival is back in Limassol for its 7th edition on May 30-31, hosted at Kolla Factory. This premier tech & entrepreneurship event, through its ReflectX programme, offers a dedicated startup program supporting ventures from Seed to Series A, enhancing access, connections, and visibility. This year, CAPSBOLD joins as Reflect Festival’s official marketing and creative partner, further bolstering the event’s support network.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Energy has announced a call for proposals under a grant scheme for energy upgrading and boosting the competitiveness of large businesses, totalling €17 million, funded by the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. This initiative is partly fueled by the new EU REPowerEU Plan, aiming to support and upgrade large enterprises, including their energy upgrading.

On the financial front, the Bank of Cyprus successfully launched and priced €300 million in green senior preferred notes under its EMTN Programme, with a maturity date set for May 2029.

Around the same time, Hellenic Bank entered into exclusive negotiations for the acquisition of CNP Cyprus Insurance Holdings Limited, illustrating a dynamic shift in the banking and insurance sectors in Cyprus and Greece.

Addressing the local economic climate, Michalis Tsangarides, director of Delfi Partners, observed varied trends in the property sector for the first quarter of 2024. Notably, Nicosia is on an upward trajectory, whereas Larnaca has seen stagnation in investment activity, and other regions have recorded declines, setting a challenging tone for the year ahead.

Amid these economic fluctuations, the Cypriot beverage company Keo released its fiscal year 2023 financial results, showcasing significant growth in both turnover and profits compared to the previous year. This robust increase highlights the company’s resilience and competitive edge in a tough market environment.

Furthermore, the Cyprus Stock Exchange recently announced the acceptance of government bonds to the market, which emerged from an auction held on April 22, 2024. This move is part of broader efforts to enhance the financial framework and attract investment to the island.

In a broader context, President Nikos Christodoulides expressed confidence in Cyprus’ ability to navigate the current global climate of uncertainty and instability. He emphasised the country’s ambition to become one of the best places in the world to live, work, and conduct business as outlined in the national strategy ‘Vision 2035’.

Finally, in a commitment to fostering a more inclusive society, the Hope For Children CRC Policy Centre launched the innovative app “Hate Trackers Beyond Borders.” This initiative is designed to empower young people aged 14-25 to actively combat hate speech online and promote a culture of unity and understanding, involving five leading organisations from four different countries. This collaborative effort underscores Cyprus’ ongoing commitment to addressing critical social issues on both a national and international level.