25 November, 2019
Cyprus: The real estate route to European citizenship
Henley & Partners 13th Global Citizenship Conference, which was held in London on 11-13 November 2019, demonstrated once again why this annual event ranks as the world’s largest and most significant conference on investment migration.
During the event I was responsible for moderating a panel discussion that focused on the topic of ‘Cyprus: The real estate route to European citizenship’, and was happy to introduce my three panelists who are all closely linked to the field of real estate investments:
Mr Melis Shiacolas, Managing Director of AKS Hotels (Athens) and CNS Group (Citrine Estates), as well as serving on the board of directors of several major companies in Cyprus;
Mr Kikis Athinodorou of Cyprus Invest and Director of Kikis Athinodorou & Associates LLC, which specializes in comprehensive consulting services in the field of real estate in Cyprus; and
Mr Savvas Poyiadjis, chartered accountant and the founder of Fidescorp, which actively advises and assists clients on the setting up of start-ups, corporate finance and restructuring, as well as international taxation.
Together we discussed how the real estate route offered under the Cyprus Investment Programme benefited both land owners and real estate professionals in Cyprus, and the positive impact it had on the economy as a whole.
Among other things, Shiacolas noted how the Cyprus programme had helped the economy recover from the financial crisis. He also emphasized an important aspect that is often overlooked in the debate on investment programmes via real estate: for a programme to be sustainable and truly beneficial in the long-term, the real estate options must grant investors value for money. Rather than being purely a route to citizenship, the goal should be to offer investors an overall lifestyle proposition. Indeed, some projects – such as Citrine Estates in Limassol, among others – does precisely that, which is why it is being so well received by international investors.
Athinodorou further reinforced that point by referring to other investment opportunities in commercial and infrastructure projects – such as marinas and golf courses – which significantly upgrade Cyprus as a tourist destination and extend the tourism season, while adding value to the projects’ surrounding areas and properties. At the same time, he noted that Cyprus was increasingly emerging as an education hub, as many private universities with English as the language of instruction are earning international accreditation, thereby attracting students from neighbouring countries and beyond.
Poyiadjis in turn shed light on another important aspect that appeals to international investors, and that is the favourable tax regime of Cyprus, which includes a number of incentives for international investors and ultimately creates a very attractive and inviting business environment. As a result, many investors not only buy property as a means to an end, but establish a business base in Cyprus and make this island their second home.
Overall, the discussion helped conference participants recognize Cyprus’s potential as an all-round destination that is attractive on several levels: for business and pleasure, for investment, and as a lifestyle destination where the whole family can feel welcome, comfortable and at home.