- Cyprus : Schulz calls for ‘spirit of solidarity’ towards Cyprus as...
- our view : Our View: Both AKEL and DISY guilty of double standards when it...
- Charilaos Stavrakis : Ministry official points the finger at Stavrakis
- Central Bank : Central Bank sees 'substantial' risks to economy
- bank of cyprus : New CEO for BoC imminent
- Cyprus : Limassol marina receives first yachts
- Cyprus : Staff strike at Sigma and Hard Rock cafe
- British experts : Reform of public service underway
- aristo developers : ‘State will gain millions in taxes from sale of Venus Rock’
- arrests : Authorities suspect fishy goings on at crossing points
Cracking the Chinese market
CHINESE investors in Paphos are paving the way for holidaymakers from the vast and as yet untapped Chinese market.
During the last year or so, many of the homes sold in Paphos have been to Chinese clients.
Nassos Hadjigeourghiou, head of the Paphos regional board of tourism, said Paphos was not focusing on tourists from China per se but believes they are an achievable goal.
“We haven’t actively done anything to attract them but I know that steps have been taken to open up new opportunities,” he said.
Hadjigeorgiou said the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) has had a number of meetings with Chinese tour operators, as well as discussing establishing direct air connections between Cyprus and China.
“Until now, nothing concrete has been decided,” said Hadjigeorgiou. “Many of the Chinese in Paphos are second-home buyers, but it is possible in the future to develop this market as a tourist market - if we manage to establish direct flights. This is the first step, and it will then open the market up for tour operators and individuals.”
Chinese investors have been purchasing homes in Paphos, in an otherwise generally quiet time for house sales. In terms of actual numbers results are not impressive but they are encouraging say officials.
“If we take the official figures, I think only around 1,000 Chinese visited here last year. The figures haven’t been listed separately in the official statistics for last year, probably because the number is so small - but it’s around this figure. This is such a small number from a huge country, but there is a lot of potential there,” said Hadjigeorgiou.
Korantina Homes - a small Paphos based developer - was one of the first developers in Cyprus to actively seek out Chinese clientele. According to Sophia Charalambous of Korantina the Chinese buyers have proved a welcome presence in a market which is otherwise relatively stagnant.
“We started selling to Chinese clients about a year ago and in that time we have sold more than 20 properties to Chinese buyers. We have also sold a couple of properties to Russians buyers, but it’s otherwise quiet.”
This year alone, Korantina has sold three properties to Chinese investors - varying in price between €315,000 and €400,000.
As non-European nationals, prospective Chinese buyers need to make a minimum property purchase of €300,000, and prove they have adequate finances to stay in Cyprus. They are then entitled to apply for and receive a permanent residency permit for themselves and their family.
According to Charalambous, Chinese buyers in Paphos are choosing properties mainly close to the sea and in the Akamas region. Cyprus is an attractive destination for Chinese investors as it can function as a stepping stone to mainland Europe.
Charalambous said: “They are enjoying sightseeing while they are here on inspection trips. They mostly seem to enjoy Troodos, Kathikas, the wineries and so on. So far, our clients are aware of many places in Cyprus and know where they want to visit.”
She pointed out that their clients often complain about the lack of fresh fish at home in China and so particularly enjoy eating it when they visit Paphos.
She added: “I think more tourists will come to Paphos from China, especially if direct flights are established. It’s a safe country, has a nice climate and they seem to like it here very much.”
Chinese ambassador Liu Xinsheng met mayor of Paphos Savvas Vergas near the end of last year on his first official visit since being appointed in the summer, with the aim of strengthening relations between China and Cyprus and developing a tourist and business relationship.
In honour of the Chinese presence in the coastal town, the King of the carnival in Paphos will this year be dressed as a Chinese investor.