Cyprus - An Immigration & Holiday Destination
Cyprus, the Pearl of the Mediterranean, officially joined the European Union in 2004. The Cypriot pound was further replaced by the Euro as the official currency in 2008. Although the country experienced the financial crisis in 2014, its economy was revived by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country’s own policies have also helped to reform Cyprus’ economy. From 2015 to 2017, its GDP has increased by 2%, 4.8% and 4.2% respectively. Official statistics show that in Q3 of 2018, its GDP surpassed 3.5% reaching up to 3.7%. In 2018, Cyprus was ranked as one of the top- performing global economies by Fitch and Moody’s, showing that the global market is largely confident in the country’s future prospects.
Revived Economy from Citizenship by Investment Program
Cyprus’s economy is mainly driven by its market and business sectors including water transports, tourism and property market. According to professional service company, KPMG’s Property Market Report, finance, technology and other services contribute 21% of the nation’s GVA whereas tourism, wholesale and retail contribute to over 25% of the country’s GVA. In the past few years, its tourism sector has surged and by an additional 10% in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, its tourism sector grew by 2.3% creating 2.3 billion Euros of revenue.
Cyprus’ property market, driven by the country’s citizenship program, is a significant contributor to its economy. In 2017, Cyprus’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) contributed at least 16% to the nation’s total GDP. PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC)’s property market report revealed that from 2014, when Cyprus’ CIP was launched, demand for luxury properties rapidly increased. In 2018, the demand grew by 8% from the previous year, with 131 cases in the first half of the year.
Since the launch of CIP, immigration applications to Cyprus have continually increased every year. Applicants can obtain EU citizenship after purchasing 2 million Euros worth of real estate. The program could grant citizenship within a short period of time without the need to live in the country. Applicants can retain multiple citizenships from other countries and do not need to conduct a language test. With due reasons, many overseas investors are attracted to Cyprus for its living environment, education system and can benefit from visa-free entry to 173 countries around the globe and conducting free-trade businesses in the EU.
Strong- holding Property Market
According to Cyprus Bureau of Statistics (CYSTAT), from Q2 of 2006, Cyprus’s House Price Index (HPI) has remained above 100 and in Q2 of 2008, reached 131.03. Its HPI for the past 2 years has remained steady and stationed around 104.19 in Q3 of 2018. In 2018, in both the property market and buy and sell transactions, especially in Cyprus’ largest port and trade hub Limassol and the ancient sea-side city Paphos. Under the CIP program, Cyprus’ economy will be further propelled to stimulate its property market.
Soaring Tourism Sector
With a continual projection of a strong tourism revenue, Cyprus has grounded more than 20 billion Euros in investments as it aims to double visitor arrivals by 2030 and create 47,000 jobs and triple tourist revenue. Following Limassol's success, the Paphos Marina was awarded to developer Pafilia in late 2018 and estimates that the project will cost over 240 million Euros with 1,000 berths mixed with commercial and residential developments. Another marina project, Ayia Napa, is estimated to cost over 220 million Euros. Such developments, mark the importance of Cyprus as a sea-side destination and a sea port for luxury living.
The island is set to open its first and only integrated luxury casino resort, to span over 7,500 square meters with over 1,200 gaming machines, 140 tables and 500 VIP rooms. The resort is expected to contribute 700 million Euros annually or 4% of the country's total GDP beginning the second year of its operation.