ACT Lounges Ltd
Love, in general, is fleeting. Adoring a cigar is rooted in initial curiosity, gradual appreciation and ultimate voyaging. Many are those who delve in cigar smoking because of social considerations, and that’s fine. However the passion for the experience is a deep personal emotion and only truly requires oneself, one’s cigar and the peace to relish it. ‘Officiellement’ it brings friends together and is a prop in celebrations or grievances. ‘Officieusement’ it is selfish and personal.
Alexis is widely considered as the foremost expert on VAT in Cyprus. With close to 20 years of experience in VAT strategic consulting, he advises businesses on international VAT matters and lectures at local and international VAT conferences and schools.
Alexis possesses an extensive vocational and educational experience in European VAT and a detailed comprehension of EU VAT matters and decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). He sits on various committees charged with tax matters, and his work includes liaising with the Cyprus tax authorities and government on policy making.
He has written a number of tax syllabuses, chapters and articles on matters pertaining to Cyprus and EU VAT. He is the author of the book “An in-depth analysis of the Fixed Establishment concept and a comparison with the Permanent Establishment concept”.
Alexis is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and holds the Expert in European Value Added Tax Degree, which he earned with the highest grade ever awarded in the history of the coveted diploma.
Alexis is passionate about the things in his life and cigars are no exception. He summarizes his relationship with the cigar as follows: “at the basic level puffing away on a cigar has a calming effect on me, something I attribute to the smell instigating memories of my happy childhood when my uncle smoked cigars. Another aspect is the interesting complexity that a cigar can have in the development of its taste. There is a notoriety in the image as well – Karl Marx discussed economics in cigar smoke-filled rooms into the early hours of the morning. Winston Churchill took decisions that changed the course of mankind, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and a cigar in his hand. Against the backdrop of such historic figures, I humbly find myself deep in thought, examining and analyzing VAT matters, accompanied by a cigar.”
In 2018 he teamed up with Raffi der Garabedian and represented Cyprus at the 1st Habanos World Challenge competition held in Cuba. The competition included a written test covering agricultural, industrial phases as well as practical and demonstrative issues of Habanos cigars, a blind tasting and a presentation on pairing cigars to fitting beverages and food.
The first round resulted in the Cyprus team and the Cuban team declared finalists. On Friday, 2 March 2018 after an intense battle, Alexis and Raffi were declared champions of the inaugural Habanos World Challenge. The Cypriot duo managed to impress the judges and spectators with their knowledge and passion for Cuban cigars with the results being widely covered by the Cuban mass media. “We couldn’t believe it. The Cyprus flag waiving in first place at a cigar competition in Cuba. It was amazing,” an elated Alexis said.
The creation of the cigar lounge was not a plan but rather something that just happened for Alexis. He decided to examine in detail all aspects of enjoying a cigar – the chair, the menu, the environment – everything was tailor-made, “rendering the lounge the place where a cigar smoker goes to stay”.
For Alexis, there is no perfect moment to appreciate a cigar. “It is not about the birth of the child, the big birthday the promotion or the marriage, although these are all great reasons to light up. It can be as simple as closing one’s eyes while drawing the first smoke, allowing the flavors to whisk the mind away to other places, to other times, or to complete nothingness, so that the eyes can reopen with absolute contentment.”