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LIFESAVERS: 3 bln in private ventures will save Cyprus, not public sector bailout

15 February, 2013

Three major leisure projects are expected to kick off this year, injecting more than 3 bln euros into the economy and investing in the future, something that the government and the overpaid civil service has failed to do.

The cost of realising these projects, as well as the local jobs that will be generated, will probably make the Cyprus economy much more viable than the cost-cutting and efficiency that the government will reluctantly introduce in order to pay off its runaway public sector debt.
The Limni Bay Resort near Polis Chrysochous will become the most ambitious leisure investment in Cyprus history when construction work gets underway later this year in order to build a luxury retreat with two signature golf courses, a hotel and several hundred holiday homes for delivery after 2015. The project was announced by Nicos Shacolas who added that apart from the 1.5 bln euros that will go into the resort, a new, small and lean airline will also be created, supported by a network of overseas travel offices that will direct holidaymakers to the greater Paphos area.
Outgoing Trade and Tourism Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said last week that the long-delayed Larnaca Marina project will also get under way after the cabinet gave the green light to this investment. Negotiations with the strategic partners have just concluded and the project will now seek financiers who will invest about 1 bln euros in the seafront project that will include a larger marina and port, hotels, commercial and residential development.
Sylikiotis said that the green light has also been given to the Ayia Napa marina development, while operators of the 500 mln euro Limassol Marina project are expected to start delivery of the Neireds apartments, with the first yachts expected next month and some villas by June.
Sylikiotis also said that three new golf resorts have secured their licenses, in addition to the four currently in operation, while one more has sought to upgrade its existing facilities to make it more attractive.
Tourist arrivals are also expected to enjoy a steady increase, with holidaymakers from Russia exceeding the magic number of 500,000 and more vacationers seeking Cyprus for their holidays. This is why the season for charter airline operations has been extended and will start from March 15 to November 15, instead of May 1 to October 31, while easier visa procedures should attract many more torists from Russia and, hopefully, from Russia.
On the other hand, Andreas Vgenopoulos of the MIG Group of Greece is widely expected to liquidate his investments in Cyprus, including the operating company of the Cyprus Hilton in Nicosia, which he bought for nearly 60 mln euros in 2007, as well as two private hospitals, one in Limassol and the other in Paphos.
The arrival of new buyers is expected to boost the local economy even further, regardless of the broken promises of the outgoing government that saw almost all of its major investments fizzle out, including the Qatar luxury property investment in Nicosia, the failed Larnaca airport development by Chinese investors and the exaggerated investments by Canada’s Triple 5 in energy and transport projects.
The only other new addition is the energy sector, that has already contributed some 300 mln euros in license fees from France’s Total, Italy’s ENI and Korea’s Kogas for the offshore exploration of oil and gas in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.