Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is the eastern-most corner of the European Union, and a strategic post throughout the centuries and layers of history. Cyprus has a robust, market-driven economy supported by a stable democracy and driven by a diverse, well-educated, skilled workforce, along with an excellent telecommunications and infrastructure system and one of the lowest tax regime in the EU. The country currency is the Euro.
These characteristics along with over 300 days of sunshine and centuries of art and culture, perhaps constitute the best possible description in one breath, of one of the up-and-coming members of the European Union: Cyprus.
Cyprus has a young, well-educated talent pool. The country is committed to education and is focusing on reforms to achieve sustainable growth. Since 2004 Cyprus has consistently allocated over 6% of GDP of public expenditure on Education. In 1996, Cyprus established the Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications, www.kysats.ac.cy which oversees the implementation of standards in higher education in the three public, including one Open University, and four private Universities. Cyprus has more than 30 colleges and 200 accredited study programs.
Location and Population
Cyprus, with an area of 9251 sq. km and coordinates at 35 N and 33 E, lies at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia at the crux of the busy shipping and air routes linking the three continents.
The population of Cyprus is about 1 185,000 (as of early 2017), the capital of Cyprus is Nicosia, situated in the heart of the island with a population of approximately 350,000. The second largest city is Limassol on the south coast with a population of approximately 300,000 and the island’s major port. Larnaca and Pafos are the third and fourth largest cities, each with a new airport, situated on the south west and south east coasts respectively.
Cyprus is a Presidential Democratic state. The Executive authority is vested in the President who is elected for a five year term by universal vote, and exercised by a Council of Ministers appointed by the President. The Legislative authority of the Republic is exercised by the House of Representatives. House Members are elected by universal vote every five years. The administration of Justice is exercised by the Judiciary, which is a separate and independent body. The current President of the Republic, H.E. Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, was elected in February 2013 for a five-year term. The Government of Cyprus welcomes Foreign Direct Investment supporting the economic development priorities of the country.
Cyprus has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, enjoying 300 days of sunshine, with mild, wet winters (mean daily minimum 5°C and maximum 13°C) and hot, dry summers (mean daily minimum and maximum temperatures are 21°C and 36°C respectively).
After a long journey of over three decades, the Republic of Cyprus became a full member of the EU on May 1, 2004. Accession to the EU was a natural choice for Cyprus, driven by its culture, civilization and history, as well as its unwavering commitment to the values of democracy, freedom and justice.
EU accession has launched a new era of opportunities and responsibilities for Cyprus.
The application of the EU laws and regulations, known as the Acquis Communautaire, is suspended for the area under military occupation by Turkey, pending a solution to the division of the island.
With the dawn of 2008, Cyprus joined the European Monetary Union leveraging a robust economic performance marked by banner key indicators. Apart from achieving and maintaining the indicators to meet the strict EMU entrance requirements, a key advantage of joining the Eurozone is price transparency: with exchange rate risk eliminated and costs significantly lower, prices are transparent across the Eurozone, fostering competition and lower prices in the medium to longer term.
Accession to the EU has also launched a new era of commitment to growth in Cyprus. Cyprus encourages Foreign Direct Investment opportunities in the priority economic growth sectors, highlighted in the country’s Strategic Development Plan 2007-2013.
These priority economic growth sectors include: Banking & Financial Services, Education, Information Communication Technologies, Medical & Wellness Tourism, Professional Services (incl. legal and accounting), Research & Development, Shipping, Renewable Energy and Environmental Technologies. Overlaying in all sectors, Cyprus is keen to promote Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) while enhancing business process innovation.
Today, Cyprus actively participates in EU Programs, focusing on strengthening growth in various economic sectors, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation across sectors and processes. In 2012 between July to December, Cyprus assumes, for the first time, the EU Presidency. In this role, as “the face and the voice” of the European Union, Cyprus will direct the work of the Council of the European Union, maintain relations with other Union institutions and represent the European Union in international matters.
The local infrastructure is ideally suited for businesspeople that need to get things done. Thanks to its modern road network, extensive port facilities and two new international airports, travel and transport in and beyond Cyprus is fast, efficient and economical.
The coastal resorts of Larnaca and Paphos each operate international airports serving flights to and from both Europe and the Middle East. Larnaca is the larger of the two airports, while the construction of an all new facility is completed.
Limassol and Larnaca are both bustling ports and work around the clock to serve the island’s considerable import and export markets. Limassol is the largest port, although considerable infrastructure is in place to provide for easy and efficient operations at each coastal facility.
Considerable investment has been made into transforming the island into a major telecommunications hub in the region. By building upon its technologically advanced infrastructure, Cyprus has established an extensive telecommunications network, both in terms of cable and satellite, which ranks amongst the best in the world
According to Mythology, Cyprus is the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The island is both an ancient land, one of the oldest recorded in the world with eleven thousand years of history, and a young independent republic since 1960. Its strategic position at the crossroads of three continents, as well as its considerable supplies of copper and timber combined to make it a highly desirable territorial acquisition.
Around Aphrodite Hills
The traditional harbour town of Paphos is only a 15 minutes’ drive and offers lively coffee shops, tavernas, shops and markets. Located on the south western coast of Cyprus, it is rich in history and culture, and its fascinating archaeological sites have earned the town a place on UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list. The castle, dating from 1391 and destroyed by the Venetians, is built next to the harbour with its colourful fishing boats and cafe’s. The famous Roman mosaics of Paphos, which once decorated lavish villas, depict scenes from ancient mythology and offer a taste of the opulent lifestyle enjoyed in Paphos’s earlier days.
Further afield there is Lara beach which is located in the Akamas Peninsula. You can get there from driving to Pegia and then to Agios Georgios. It is a beach which is deserted as it is a protected area. The only habitants are wild goats, birds and turtles. Due to the fact that the area is deserted, the beach and the trees are intact making it a small paradise. The sand is soft and golden, while the sea is crystal clear and clean. In order to get there you will need a four-wheel drive as it is an off-road journey. Also since it is deserted you must take an umbrella as there is no shade, as well as food and drinks. The contrasts of this are the Troodos Mountains, rising to almost 2,000 metres with a landscape of cool pine forests, hospitable stone villages, Byzantine churches, and exhilarating mountain walks, even enjoy some skiing in the mild winter months.
Travelling to Cyprus
The island has two international airports, in Larnaca and Pafos and two man ports, Larnaca and Limassol connecting Cyprus to all the countries of the world. Over 30 airlines, led by the island’s national carrier, operate regular flights to more than 260 international destinations, while shipping services, including cruise lines and cargo, are provided by the island’s merchant fleet, which is the fifth largest in the world.