Hill Robinson on Cyprus, A Future Superyacht Hub
Cyprus is quickly becoming a sought-after superyacht destination, and that new activity is focussed on the rapidly-expanding Limassol Marina. With a new office in the heart of the marina, we speak to Stelios Kazamia, Director of Hill Robinson Cyprus, about the growing attraction of the island and the opportunities created by the uncertainty of Brexit.
After holding a presence in Cyprus with Hill Robinson Nicosia since 2012, the new initiative to move the regional and industry expertise to Limassol is offering new solutions for Owners and Captains cruising the region.
With growing interest in the region, we find out more about the benefits hiding beneath the breath-taking views of Cyprus and the surrounding areas.
How is Limassol Marina cementing Cyprus as a future superyacht hotspot
Limassol is the first superyacht marina in Cyprus, with berths for yachts up to 110-metres, exclusive villas and apartments - the largest of which sold for €15m. Adding to that, there are now two new marinas under development, one in Ayia Napa on the Southeastern coast with berths up to 80m, and another marina is planned in Paphos on the Western part of the island.
Near the marina, the first Casino resort in Limassol - costing over €500m - will become the largest casino in Europe when it opens in 2020; with 136 gaming tables, 1200 machines, 6-star hotel, boutique shops, restaurants, spa, gym etc. So, there’s a lot happening.
Another big factor behind Cyprus is the citizenship investment scheme, which allows real estate investors the potential to gain an EU Citizenship and Cypriot passport. The knock-on effects of investing in the region also include the future economic benefits of new oil and gas drilling initiatives currently underway in Cyprus.
Cyprus is also a perfect base to explore the East Med and is conveniently close to the Suez Canal.
Is the uncertainty of Brexit raising questions or creating new investment opportunities?
The uncertainty behind Brexit is still there, and there are still a few questions surrounding the UK leaving the EU. People want to know if a UK flagged boat will be entitled to operate commercially in the EU, or whether or not a yacht with VAT paid in the UK prior to Brexit will be considered EU VAT paid etc.
The opportunities side of the potential deal comes with restructuring existing ownership and new ownership to be placed in the EU rather than the UK, so Cyprus has a very attractive yacht leasing scheme with an effective tax rate as low as 3.05% for boats over 65-metres.
What services are you adding to fuel the Cypriot boom in superyacht activity?
We’re currently managing significant refit projects in Cyprus, with two project managers based here and direct access to the EDT shipyard next to the marina. The great thing about Cyprus is that it has a highly educated and skilled labour force, so the yard is well-known for their work in vessel operations and maintenance in the oil and gas industry, and fully qualified to undertake extensive marine repairs and maintenance.
The Hill Robinson fleet that comes here for management and marina facilities include Queen K, Sailing Yacht Germania Nova, Aviva 98 and Mogambo, so it’s a fantastic place to see, berth and take up haven from the more volatile neighbouring countries.
Hill Robinson is a global brand, how does Cyprus fit into the overall strategy?
“Hill Robinson has had a presence in Cyprus since 2012. It took off in 2015, and today we have seven staff members, several yachts under management delivering technical, operational, finance and commercial management services; all while working with other offices across the globe. The island brings in superyachts from across the world thanks to the marina’s position between three continents, so it’s a location with huge potential.”
Shortly after opening offices across Palm Beach and Monaco, the Cyprus push forward is proving that the superyacht community is not only active, but in need of management as it looks to push further into new territories.
"The uncertainty behind Brexit is still there, and there are still a few questions surrounding the UK leaving the EU. People want to know if a UK flagged boat will be entitled to operate commercially in the EU, or whether or not a yacht with VAT paid in the UK prior to Brexit will be considered EU VAT paid etc."