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Naguib Sawiris: How Ayia Napa Marina will Change the Cyprus Coastline

Naguib Sawiris: How Ayia Napa Marina will Change the Cyprus Coastline

The Egyptian billionaire businessman tells GOLD why he chose to invest in Ayia Napa and the impact he expects the Marina project to have on Cyprus.

By Artemis Constantinidou

 

What made you consider Cyprus as an investment destination?

Naguib Sawiris: I set up Ora Developers with the objective of building inspirational developments in unique and exceptional locations. I had visited Cyprus as a young child and have always loved the country and its people, so when the opportunity to build Ayia Napa Marina came along, I jumped at it!

Cyprus is already a beautiful location and, in my opinion, it will benefit from more high-end developments, which enhance and fit in with the environment. At Ora we are dedicated to working with communities and using natural, sustainable building materials to produce truly wonderful lifestyle destinations. This is why I had always wanted to build Ayia Napa Marina.

Most people know that, in recent years, Cyprus has had to deal with a number of issues. In March 2013, the country was in a very difficult position but, by March 2016, it was able to exit its €10 billion loan facility and start building for the future. The country returned to economic growth last year and the natural gas resources of about four trillion cubic feet discovered in 2011in the Aphrodite field have been a further boost. The way the country has responded to all the challenges and moved on is testament to the people and to the Government, which has created a dynamic country that offers one of the most attractive and transparent tax systems in Europe, fully compliant with EU laws and regulations. Cyprus has a modern and business-friendly legal system, which is why it is seeing so much foreign investment. And it is why we saw it as the perfect investment destination for Ora.

 

GOLD: What was it about the Ayia Napa Marina project specifically that attracted you?

N.S.: My simple answer would be ‘the colour of the sea’! I love this part of the coastline.  I swam near Ayia Napa when I was a boy and the beauty of the location has always stayed with me. I was very happy when my friend and Cypriot partner, Stavros Caramondanis, were able to put the project together. 

Ayia Napa Marina will be the island’s leading mixed-use luxury residential and commercial marina with berthing space for 600 vessels up to 60 metres long. We can see that there is a gap in the market for high-end tourism and our aim is to attract owners of yachts that cost as much as $50 million.

Progress on the marina is going very well and I hope that I will be able to make further investments in Cyprus.

 

GOLD: Tell us more about current project and what you expect from it.

N.S.: Our vision is to create a premier living, yachting and social destination in the Mediterranean and the first choice for boaters, residents and guests. Ayia Napa Marina is a unique project, not just for Cyprus, but for the whole of Europe, mainly due to the innovative technology used for constructing both the marina and its other spaces. The project has already gained worldwide acclaim, exemplified by the fact that we are enjoying increased interest from buyers all over the world, especially from the Russian, Middle Eastern and Asian markets, while 78% of the Ayia Napa Marina East tower has already been sold.

Ayia Napa Marina is an exclusive integrated development offering luxurious residences, world-class yachting facilities, a variety of retail boutiques, waterfront fine dining options, recreational and nightlife experiences. Its unique location, crystal clear seas, stunning beaches and incredible views are enticing to boaters, visitors and residents, who appreciate a lifestyle of class and elegance. With complete privacy and round-the-clock security for homes and yachts, Ayia Napa Marina offers everything one needs to relax and enjoy the exciting lifestyle of the Mediterranean. I am delighted that construction is progressing according to plan and I am confident that the marina and the commercial area will welcome its first guests before the end of this year.

 

GOLD: How would you rate your experience as an investor in Cyprus? Are there things that the country could do better in order to attract more investment?

N.S.: My experience has been very positive. The Government and the authorities are welcoming and have provided the help we need to overcome the hurdles faced by all foreign investors. Working with a local partner has been essential and it meant that we could keep the project on track. The Cyprus Investment Programme is a great incentive for foreigners to invest in real estate and is helping create a great opportunity for us to develop a massive project like Ayia Napa Marina, which we envision will change the Cyprus’ coastline and become the latest luxury destination in the Mediterranean basin.

 

GOLD: How does Cyprus compare with other jurisdictions in which you have invested?

N.S.: At Ora we are managing developments in Granada, Pakistan, London and Egypt, so we are very experienced in dealing with different countries and jurisdictions. The strength of the Cyprus economy and the support available have made it one of the easiest places for us to do business.

There are a number of other significant developments underway in the country and many more are planned, so there is a real momentum, which creates a positive investment market. We are delighted that Ayia Napa Marina is part of this and I know that it will set the benchmark for future investments. 

 

*The interview was first published in GOLD magazine (June 2019 issue)

 

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