I first visited Cyprus whilst I was living in New York, when I happened to visit on a business trip. Years later I found myself working on a number of projects in Cyprus, most of which took me to Nicosia. On the rare occasions when I needed to go to Limassol, the invariable question from my Nicosia friends was “why?”
I was in Limassol a few weeks back. I called a friend in Nicosia. “Where are you?”, she asked. “Limassol”, I said. “I am jealous”, she replied.
What has changed?
Limassol has changed.
This brash Cypriot backwater town has become a shining star. Because it feels good about itself. And because it feels good, it does great things. Like build one of the best beachfronts anywhere in the world. Like develop one of the best marinas in the Mediterranean. Like renovate the dilapidated old town to turn it into a hip, cool urban oasis. Like establish itself as a shipping hub. Like smile …
I saw a photograph of Limassol in the sixties. I was amazed. The town had its back to the sea. Literally, The waves washed against the back walls of the seafront buildings which faced inland, towards Nicosia. Someone told me the sea smiled back at Limassol when Limassol turned to face the sea.
It may sound strange … but just like a person, every country, every city, every corporation and every brand has its own DNA. Genetic building blocks which distinguish it from every other. Limassol’s DNA is built on a smile.
The civic and business leaders of Limassol have worked with this DNA, creating a city which lovingly embraces the sea. But it has all been built with a smile.
I studied classical economics. But I have learnt the power of social psychology. When a person feels good, they do great things. When a football team feels good, they score goals. And when a city smiles, it does great things too.
Limassol is already taking its place as the major hub attracting foreign investment to Cyprus. Exaptriate companies are attracting by the ease doing business here. And expatriate workers enjoy a welcome and a lifestyle second to none. I predict that it will soon take its place as one of the premier tourism and business centres in the region.
Keep smiling Limassol. And the sea will keep smiling back.