Qatar Airways will be flying directly to Cyprus as of April 29 and this will boost investment interest from the Arab world, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades said yesterday.
But big investments cannot take place from one day to another, he added.
“It takes time, the government is pushing air connection between the Gulf and Cyprus. Qatar’s direct flights begin end of this month,” Georgiades told state radio.
In addition, Qatari officials heading state investment funds are to visit Cyprus early in May to explore possibilities.
In January, Qatar Airways said in a statement that Larnaca was a destination they were pleased to be providing regular scheduled service to.
It also said: “We are continually striving to provide customers with more options of unique destinations to visit, and the Mediterranean city of Larnaca is a welcomed new addition to the airline’s route map.”
The airline will be flying four times a week to Larnaca – its first route to Cyprus.
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed this decision saying that business relations between Cyprus and Qatar were expanding rapidly.
“It was almost a must to have direct flights, it’s a very positive development. Qatar Airways must have realised the great potential of Cyprus as a holiday destination as well, that’s probably why they included it in their routes,” the chamber’s Elena Tanou said.
In January, President Anastasiades paid a three-day official visit to Qatar - the richest country in the world - in a bid to lure investment to debt-ridden Cyprus (photo).
He said that Qataris were keen to invest in various sectors of the island’s ailing economy and that Cypriots are in a position to respond to their interests.
But he had also sent a warning in a bid to avert fresh speculation that saw deals between the two states go slightly awry as in the recent past.
The Gulf state almost landed a joint venture deal with the previous government involving a prime plot opposite the Nicosia Hilton. And then late last year Qatar offered to buy the Cyprus Airways time slot at Heathrow Airport.
But both deals went up in flames at the last minute amid indications that the blame lied in the Cypriot camp.
Anastasiades whose high-profile visit aimed at mending fences also said that Qataris were interested to have Cypriot construction and other companies take over projects in their country. And that was another success story, he added.