Cyprus Woos Investors in London, Cites Big Comeback

FILE - An aircraft takes off from Larnaca airport past the control tower, right, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at the southern coastal city of Larnaca, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis led a pitch for investors at the World Travel Market conference in London to come to Cyprus and take advantage of its rebound from a banking and economic crisis, thanks to a 10-billion-euro ($11.6 billion) international bailout.

He was talking to a targeted audience of professionals in tourism, finance, commerce, energy, media and entertainment, as well as other economic sectors and – as the island tries to change its image as a money-laundering haven for tax cheats – said it offers incentives such as its restructured banking sector.

Cypriot banks brought the economy to the verge of collapse in 2013, suffering losses for their big holdings of devalued Greek bonds and bad loans to Greek businesses, which brought down the Laiki Bank.

He also noted the growing tourism sector that is on course to bring in 3.6 million visitors this year, the Cyprus Mail reported, as well as drilling offshore for potential oil and gas finds, which are being challenged by Turkey, which has unlawfully occupied the northern third of the island since a 1974 invasion.