Dual Citizenship is becoming a necessity; a commodity for the few. The need to stay global is increasing and people nowadays do not want to stay local. They need global access. They need a ‘boundary-less’ world for themselves and their families. Cyprus faces an influx of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) who are looking for permanent solutions.
Going back, decades ago, the Cyprus government had repeatedly tried to attract foreign investments, however the geopolitical influences on the region were adding a level of difficulty to every effort. Since Cyprus’ succession in the EU, more and more private investors have stepped onto the island with an appetite – mostly for real estate. The Cyprus Citizenship programme played a catalytic role and created a serious epidemic for the arrival of investors on the island. One could argue that the programme acted as a tipping point and changed the prospect of the macroeconomics of the country for good. Since the Cyprus government’s announcement of the Naturalization by Exception through investments programme (back in 2013), investments on the island have quadrupled. Along with this, the arrival of private jets to Larnaka airport has grown enormously, with a parade of white and silver jets landing on a weekly basis. But what has made the big difference? It is the increasing demand of HNWI for luxury properties and services.
In my opinion, we Cypriot businessmen have to considerably change the model of our businesses. I mean change it for good. The banking crisis of 2012 has made us all realise that we need to differentiate or die. Literally.
The old business model of family-owned companies that ran under sentimental and poor management have little luck to survive. What the market calls for now is a serious shift to quality products and services along with strict corporate governance for SME’s. The HNWI who have chosen Cyprus to be their second country are prepared to invest big, however, their demands for quality, service and luxury cannot be compromised.
This small island is still a paradise on earth; a hidden gem in the Mediterranean which can serve as a base for businesses, private and public investors, and most of all, a safe place for them and their families.
Cyprus now needs a long-term strategy that will save it from mass tourism and cheap imitation services. Cyprus businesses need to reinvent themselves though originality.
There is no more space for cheap. There is no future for copycats. The HNWI will parade through Cyprus in the years to come. Some for days, and many for life.
We all need to realise that we can only thrive by catering for the demanding buyers and clients.
After all, the HNWI are here to stay. And we must cater for them!