Problems that the Protaras Area due to the Tourist Development (Newspaper SIMERINI, 14 May 1995)
Because of the rapid growth of the tourism at the area of Protaras, which evolves as one of the center points of the tourist product of the island, several problems have also raised, which must be solved before we’re faced with situations which, I’m sure nobody, would like to encounter.
The most important of the problems we face are:
1. The constant and unsystematic resurgence of hotel units. This results to reduced fullness of the newly built units. The answer to the specific problem is that anybody wanting to develop a unit should first conduct a Feasibility Study which will indicate the exact form the unit should have. It is my personal view that the development of new units should seize immediately, because of the reduction of the tourists visiting the area. Another result of the constant development of units is that Quality Tourism is reluctant towards the area. Because of the over supply of beds, we turn towards the mass tourism. The experience indicates that the latter is more of a problem than a solution.
2. The rest of the investments for infrastructure at the area can only be characterized as segmental. This indicates the lack of a long term tourist policy. We regret to notice that the main aim of the specific investments was the commercial part with no reference what so ever to the specific needs and demands of the tourists arriving at the area. The main purpose of the specific “investments” was the short –term cash in on, with no long-term prospect what so ever. The specific nature of tourism wasn’t coned in order to take specific measures which will assist the development of the product. We’re in favor of the investments at the tourist industry. Still, those must be planned taking into account the economical and sociological impacts at the area. It goes without saying that prior to any investment, a Feasibility Study must be conducted, taking into account the Marketing and Promotional aspects, which are an essential part of every enterprise, regardless of its magnitude.
3. Licenses for the establishment of restaurants and various other types of tourism related units to persons that have no connection whatsoever with the profession. Two main problems derive from the specific practice: (a) the high prices of the offered goods (food, drinks, etc) due to false cost accounting. (b) The services provided are at very poor standards. Cypriots are best known for the good service they provide as well as the hospitality, a traditional characteristic. Thus we shouldn’t consider tourism as a gravy train. The Cyprus Tourism Association must study and face the specific problems. One way could be through seminars addressed to all people involved at the tourism industry.
4. Small enterprises face the problem of the overdue rent they have to pay. Resulting are the high prices they have to impose, in order to cover the specific cost, something which discourages the guests from spending more money. There must be a specific way of cost accounting so that owners are obliged to keep their demands at reasonable standards.
5. The lack of parking spots creates various side effects which discomfort the guests.
6. Protaras has not have a tourist beach that meets several standards regarding the offering of toilets, sidewalks, snack bars, etc.
7. Because some night clubs function until the morning, without the proper licensing, they cause annoyance to the guests. Another side effect of that is that various incidents happen, which are not resolved because of the lack of tourist police.
All problems described give a bad reputation to the Protaras area which the sea and the sun alone are not enough to counterbalance. Some infrastructure works that could help are a sports center, an open amphitheater, a golf field, a fun-fair for the children and other. The specific works can assist to the expansion of the tourist period even at the winter.
Of course, everything ends up at the volition of the municipal authority to assist towards the achievement of the goals set. We regret to see that the Municipal Authority of Paralimni, to which Protaras is subjected, prefers to invest the money it earns from Protaras to the Paralimni community. It is our belief that Paralimni doesn’t need so many infrastructure investments, for the simple reason that there’s virtually no tourism at the area. Of course, Paralimni should also benefit from the income that tourism provides; still some necessary works must be performed to Protaras. Apart from the ones we’ve already mentioned, we should add a museum that will bring forth the tradition of our island and more specific of the Protaras-Paralimni area, as well as many more, for which we haven’t the space to elaborate.
On the other side, Protaras has its own share at the situation established. There is not a Community Tourism Committee, which will incorporate tourism professionals that will be responsible for the solving of the problems encountered.
As a conclusion, we believe that all serious problems the area of Protaras faces must be immediately dealt with, otherwise we will face all the side effects taunting the tourism industry of Spain.