The boom of the Protaras area, which sets of to becoming the most popular resort of our island has brought several problems which must be resolved the soonest possible, before we will face to face with situations nobody would like to deal with.
Following, we enumerate the most important, according to our view, problems:
1. The built of all kinds of units with no programming what so ever. As a result, we have empty beds throughout the season. Our personal belief is that prior to the construction of any kind of unit, a Feasibility Study should be conducted. The specific study will indicate whether the unit under consideration is truly necessary.
2. The-all ready mentioned- lack of planning introduces the problem of the reluctance of the most eligible part of tourism to visit the area. The specific part is not that big arithmetically, but it has a big purchasing power. Instead, we have a large number of visitors with limited resources. This calls for action on the part of the local authorities, which must end the specific-illegal-practice.
3. All infrastructure developed at the area was of a commercial character, without taking into consideration the specific needs and requirements of the area, as well as of the visitors. The basic aim was the realization of the maximum short-term profit with no future forecast.
4. Most of the ones running tourist units of any kind (restaurants, bars, etc ) have no relationship what so ever with the occupation. This leads to:
A. High prices due to false pricing
B. Unacceptable standards of service
One of the major elements that drive tourists to visit Cyprus is the hospitality of its people. If the specific characteristic elapses will result to a significant limitation of the tourists, especially from the European countries.
5. The rent that a lot of business units are obliged to pay is very high, beyond any justification. The aftereffect of that is the high prices that the specific units put to their products, in order to cover the specific expense.
6. The parking spots at the area are inadequate. This is translated into problems at the various streets that people are forced to park, as well as annoyance to both the residents and the visitors.
7. The beaches of the area are not adequately organized to satisfy the needs of the visitors. Of course, this can be said generally for the area, with no public toilettes and other necessary facilities.
8. The licensing system is malfunctioning in both sides. The one-as all ready mentioned- is the side of the people, and the other is the kinds of units (bars, restaurants, etc). This results to quite enough units that are functioning without the proper licenses.
9. The lack of tourist police that will interfere whenever problems are created, either between the visitors or between visitors and residents. It is our belief that in order to attract, but also to maintain, a stream of tourists more demanding than the ones belonging to the lower income classes we must design a strategy that will meet the demands of the group that our area targets at. It is time that we understand that sea and sun alone are not enough. And, unfortunately, these are the only things that our area provides.
Of course, criticizing is easy. What is difficult is to present proposals which will help changing the scenery. And this is what we’ll do.
The most important thing that must change immediately, are the practices followed by the municipal authority of Paralimni, to which our area is subjected. We’ve observed that most of the income that the authority receives from tourism it is invested at the Paralimni area, which in no way it can be considered a tourist area. Of course, I do not claim that the Paralimni area should not benefit from that income, on the contrary. Still, a large amount of that income must be invested at works that will improve the standards at the same area that produces the specific income, which is Protaras.
Secondly, the lack of a Tourism Committee makes things even more complex. This should be staffed by professionals who would undertake to solve all problems, and also assist the municipal authority map out its tourist policy.
Last, but not least, we propose the built of several works that will serve as an attraction to the future visitors. These mainly are a sports center, an amphitheater which will allow the realization of various kinds of shows, a golf course, a fun park for the children and a museum that will display the art and culture of both our island and more specific our area. Of course, we do not consider the specific ideas as the only ones. On the contrary, we invite and call forth everybody to reposit his or hers ideas.
Concluding, we urge everybody to start thinking seriously regarding the future of tourism at our area and also to give any idea he/she feels it would assist to the uplifting of the standards. It is about time we understand that there is no room for amateurism when dealing with something as volatile as tourism.