Nikiforos Pambakas: Cyprus is an increasingly attractive destination for yachts
Maria Karaiskou 07:30 - 13 February 2024
Nikiforos Pampakas, General Manager at Limassol Marina, suggests that Cyprus is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for yachts, indicating that our country has established itself as the most sought-after destination in the Eastern Mediterranean region for short-term or long-term recreational boat visits.
In an interview with InBusinessNews, in the context of "IN Business Forecasting 2024," Pambakas expresses the assessment that the yachting sector will continue its positive development in 2024, both in Cyprus and internationally.
As he explains, with the increase in berth capacity and consequently the number of vessels accommodated in Cyprus, the sector will continue to strengthen and its importance for the economy will continue to grow.
As far as the real estate sector is concerned, the General Manager of Limassol Marina expresses the certainty that it will continue to achieve significant positive results for the Cypriot economy.
As he predicts, demand will continue its upward trend, due to companies from abroad choosing Cyprus as their headquarters, especially those active in the IT and technology sector, but also due to the forecast for an upcoming possible reduction in lending rates.
Referring to Limassol Marina, which next June marks the 10th anniversary of opening its doors to the public, Nikiforos Pambakas notes that one of the main goals for the new year is to continue offering high-standard services, remaining a unique destination in the Eastern Mediterranean.
How do you see the economic environment shaping up in 2024, in light of inflationary pressures, high interest rates and unpredictable ever-changing geopolitical developments?
Although the general forecasts for the new year look positive, challenges for the economic environment of Cyprus will continue to exist in 2024. That is why it is very important to be prepared for all possible eventualities, as there are active war fronts, which increases uncertainty in all sectors of our economy.
Speaking specifically about the marina sector, indeed we foresee the demand for berths to continue its upward trend, and although boat visits from neighboring countries are down due to the current political situation in the surrounding area, we remain positive about the arrival of more quality tourism due to the excellent product that the Limassol Marina encompasses, as well as due to Cyprus’ strategic position in the Mediterranean.
Regarding the real estate sector, we predict that demand will also continue its upward trend, due to companies from abroad choosing Cyprus as their headquarters, especially those active in the IT and technology sector, but also from the forecast for a possible reduction in lending rates in the next period which will lead to an increase in real estate purchases at the local level.
What do you consider to be the biggest and most difficult challenges that the Cypriot economy will have to face?
There will be several challenges that the Cypriot economy will have to face at various levels. For example, global economic uncertainty, especially due to geopolitical developments and global challenges, may negatively affect the Cypriot economy in various areas, such as investment insecurity, intergovernmental instability and challenges in international trade and political relations with various countries.
There may also be energy-related geopolitical developments in the region, especially in terms of securing energy resources. Therefore, developing strategies to address these challenges becomes even more vital.
At the same time, in relation to tourism, Cyprus's dependence on it and the inevitable fluctuations in this sector, especially in times of crisis, may represent a significant challenge that will have multiple effects on various sectors of our economy.
Would you say that, taking into account the latest upgrades, the Cyprus economy is now well on its way to growth?
Yes, despite the challenges and continuous developments inside and outside of Cyprus, I believe that our economy is on a growth path, with various sectors showing significant positive results.
After all, are the evaluations from international evaluation houses that improve the image of Cyprus abroad, and attract significant investments and funds, strengthening our economy, are important.
The Limassol marina is a pole of attraction for tourism
What do you think will be the course of the sector in which you operate in 2024?
So far we are quite optimistic, on the one hand because of the movement we have already observed as I mentioned above, and on the other hand from the encouraging messages we receive from the rest of the tourism sectors such as airports, hotels and travel agencies.
Limassol Marina is undoubtedly a pole of attraction for the island's tourism.
At the same time, in terms of the real estate sector, looking back to 2023, I am almost certain that the real estate sector will continue to have significant positive effects on our economy.
The yachting sector also seems to be continuing its positive growth in 2024, both in Cyprus and internationally. With the increase in berth capacity and consequently the number of vessels accommodated in Cyprus, the sector will continue to strengthen and its importance to the economy will continue to grow.
Cyprus is an increasingly attractive destination
What are the biggest industry trends and changes you anticipate in 2024?
Presenting a very rapid development, Limassol Marina’s area of activity is a field of great challenges and great opportunities.
We are being invited to monitor this development, adopting international practices and constantly upgrading our competitive advantage, as the first and largest superyacht marina in Cyprus that combines luxurious residential and commercial developments, state-of-the-art facilities and services with state-of-the-art equipment, all in the heart of the city.
At the same time, the real estate sector is moving at a fast and satisfactory pace, which fills us with optimism and confidence regarding the sale of the few remaining apartments and villas on the sea at Limassol Marina.
Regarding the yachting sector and the operation of more marinas on our island, Cyprus is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for yachts. As a member of the EU, and given the uncertainty that exists in the surrounding area, Cyprus has established itself as the most sought-after destination in the Eastern Mediterranean region for short or long term visits by yachtsmen to the island.
Given that boat crews spend a lot of money in the local market, attracting larger boats to our island is a unique opportunity to keep Cyprus on the global maritime map, while also creating a new opportunity for the transformation of the industry, and marking significant and increasing income in the country.
At the same time, new, large vessels continue to be delivered to their owners at a rapid pace, and ambitious development planning north of the Red Sea appears to be creating new destinations for Mediterranean vessels.
With Cyprus's location off the Suez Canal being a major advantage for us, we are ready to offer services and facilities to this growing number of yachts traveling South. The long-term trend of positive growth in the global yachting sector therefore seems to continue at an increasing rate in 2024 as well.
The most important problems
What are the most important problems that are currently plaguing your sector and the solution of which you consider to be a priority in view of the new year?
In Cyprus there is a need for a permanent and continuous development of the infrastructure of the facilities and services related to marine tourism in order to attract the international market.
We must offer high quality products and services, and follow best environmental practices.
The strategy for marine tourism in Cyprus is essential and needs continuous upgrading and development with the development of facilities and infrastructure in order to develop a national boating industry and provide improved boating support services nationally. There are several models and typical examples of successful strategies that should be considered and seriously studied.
Inevitably, the recent instability and conflict in the Middle East and the Red Sea is of concern to all vessels traveling through these regions. Although this is outside our borders, it presents Cyprus with an opportunity to further strengthen its position as a safe EU destination in the region.
To capitalise on this opportunity and Cyprus' continued potential to play a central role in the international yachting industry, all stakeholders need to coordinate to create a friendly and competitive destination against other established destinations in the Western Mediterranean.
The lack of coordinated support and accountability within government for the yachting sector is currently one of the biggest issues that needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.
If you could ask the government to take specific measures or formulate policies to support/enhance your sector, what would they be?
It is necessary to implement some attractive and effective regulatory and legislative amendments for the continuous development of the infrastructure of facilities related to marine tourism, and to grant some financial incentives, such as the implementation of a boat leasing system.
It is also vital that the government now makes the necessary upgrades to the regulations and legislation governing the construction and operation of such projects, so as to support the yachting industry, ensuring that Cyprus remains a 'friendly' destination to attract visitors, to upgrade the quality of the tourism product of Cyprus, and, at the same time, to invest in an environment in which the professionals of the sector will be able to operate in a professional capacity.
With the projected growth of the industry and the increasing number of yachts around the coast of Cyprus, we need to be organised and ready to offer the best services in terms of safety, environmental control, administrative and legal procedures, contributing to the government's strategy to strengthen the yachting industry on our island.
In any case, the success of the strategy requires a combined approach, consultation, study and coordination between the marinas, the shipping agents, the management companies, the Cypriot authorities and the government.
Ten years of Limassol marina
What are Limassol Marina’s plans for 2024?
With the completion of Limassol Marina in 2021, and bearing in mind that June 2024 marks ten years since the Marina opened its doors to the public, one of our key goals for the new year is to continue to offer high standard services, thus maintaining Limassol Marina as a unique destination in the Eastern Mediterranean.
At the same time, we want to ensure that all our customers, from boat owners and their crews, to residents of apartments and villas, as well as visitors to the shopping district, have the chance to experience a truly special time by the sea.
We would like to further strengthen the image of Limassol Marina abroad by identifying it with quality, development and modernisation, in order to create the most ideal conditions for a prosperous future for all.
In the context of achieving these goals, there are already several developments in the commercial part of the Marina, as new dining areas have already been added at the beginning of the year, increasing the options one can find in Limassol Marina and enhancing our Project’s quality product.
In terms of vessel services, high level reception services, top facilities and concierge services will continue to be provided to our customers as the bar of their expectations has been set high in our priorities for this year as well, due to the quality of services and facilities we offer.
For this reason, we are constantly upgrading and our continuous development seals and honours the trust of visitors who choose us as the best destination in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
The adoption of advanced technological solutions
What role does technology, such as artificial intelligence, play and what changes is it expected to bring about in your field?
The role of technology, and in particular artificial intelligence, in our field is critical to the modern approach to Marina management, but also to the enhancement of the experience we offer to our customers.
The adoption of advanced technological solutions, such as artificial intelligence, allows us to improve our services, strengthen the security of the Marina, and offer personalised services to our customers.
We expect the use of technology to help manage resources more effectively, address challenges and drive innovation in our field.