In the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cyprus gained great popularity as a portal for investment from the West into Russia and Eastern Europe. More recently, there have been increasing investment flows from the West, through Cyprus, into Asia (particularly China and India), South America and the Middle East. In addition, businesses from outside the EU use Cyprus as their entry-point for investment into Europe, making Cyprus a financial centre in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the second quarter of 2016, Cyprus’ real GDP growth was 2.7%, much higher than many countries in the euro area.
Cyprus constitutes one of the largest ship management centres in the world; around 50 ship management companies and marine-related foreign enterprises conduct their international activities in the country, while the majority of the largest ship management companies in the world have established offices on the island. Its geographical position at the crossroads of three continents and its proximity to the Suez Canal has promoted merchant shipping as an important industry for the island nation. As of 2013, Cyprus had the 10th largest merchant fleet in the world, and the 3rd largest in the EU.
Cyprus is a major exporter of pharmaceuticals, refined petroleum, ships, cheese, citrus fruit, cement, and ready-to-wear products. Greece has traditionally been a major trading partner with Cyprus, accounting for 14% of total exports of goods and services and 19% of total imports in 2014. Other major trading The Economy of Cyprus partners include Britain, Israel, Italy and Germany.
Tourism occupies a dominant position in the economy. With almost 3 million tourist arrivals per year, it is the 40th most popular destination in the world. However, in terms of per capita of local population, it ranks 6th. Cyprus has been a full member of the World Tourism Organisation since 1975. Cyprus has some interesting archaeological sites, charming old towns and some of the cleanest and most popular beaches in Europe.