Cyprus invites airline, shipping sector to increase ties

High Commissioner Theophylactou. Pic by Shirajiv Sirimane

Cyprus and Sri Lankan trade can be aggressively promoted to a higher-level as both countries have not looked at this area seriously so far, Cyprus' High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and India, Demetrios Theophylactou said.

In a special interview with Daily News Business while on a brief visit to Sri Lanka he said that Cyprus has found natural gas deposits like in Sri Lanka and are looking to share the Sri Lankan experience in this area. "In addition Cyprus is an island and is strong in the shipping area. This is another area we can promote and we will also look at both the Colombo Port and the Hambantota Port." Theophylactou said that he also spoke to several shipping companies and also the Minister Arjuna Ranatunge and was positive that the shipping sector would be thrust area between the two countries in the future.

The High Commissioner also said the Cyprus airline is almost defunct and there is a need of an airline to fill this void. "We are inviting SriLankan Airlines to exploit this opportunity in anyway they could. SriLankan can create an air link between Asia and Europe."

He also identified the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) segment as another area Sri Lanka should look at.

He said that they are now in the process of organising a Sri Lanka business delegation to visit Cyprus to explore opportunities that are opening up. "Cyprus has an open, free-market, service-based economy with some light manufacturing and it's also a country in the European Union and hence Sri Lankan entrepreneurs should engage more with us." 

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