The Qualitive Upgrade of the Tourist Product of the Famagusta District (2002)
Newspaper FILELEFTHEROS – April 2002
Responding to several references to various media regarding the tourist product of Cyprus, I would like to publish the following article referring to the matter. The suggestions made at it aim at helping to the qualitative upgrade of the product of our island in general and more specific of the Ammohostos area, from which I come from and to which I function as a professional.
1. First and by far with the biggest importance is the introduction of a new capitulary, that of the Local Tourism Committee. The need for such Committees is imperative. Staffed with professionals possessing the highest level of experience and specialization regarding the section, the specific capitulary is the only one that can offer viable and effective solutions to the lasting problems of the tourist product, and also assist to the substantial step-up of the specific product.
2. Another especially important factor is that of the training of the personnel that is engaged at all aspects of the tourist product. As in every other sector, the product is subject to changes triggered by the differentiations of the international economical, political and cultural environment. This implies that all people dealing with tourism should at all times be aware of the international trends.
3. Following is the issue of the modernization of the existing infrastructure. This includes hotels rooms for rent, recreation facilities and marinas.
4. One of the major problems taunting the tourism industry of the island is that of its seasonal nature. The specific problem can be solved with the evolvement of other types of tourism. Those are defined the council, the villatic and the cultural types of tourism, among others. These require specialized facilities which must be developed from the outset. Apart from the solving of the seasonal issue, another-and perhaps of equal importance-benefit that we will have from the development of both the types of tourism mentioned above but also others that because of space we can’t elaborate at, is that people of higher educational and economical level will chose our island for their vacations.
5. We would like now to move from the general problems taunting our islands’ tourist product and refer to more specific ones which are more intense at the Ammohostos area.
6. As of greater importance we consider the issue of the various infrastructure works which must be realized in order for the area to evolve as a tourism resort. Until now, what we actually had to offer as a destination was the sea and the sun, surrounded by all facilities necessary for the hosting of the visitors: hotel units, restaurants and taverns, music clubs e.t.c. This model is viable no more. People nowadays select the place of their vacations taking into account other factors apart from the sea and sun. All of these factors require the development of infrastructure which will meet the various demands. For example, people who workout throughout the year want to continue their exercise and at their vacations. This necessitates the building of a modern athletics center, comprised by playfields, basketball cages, football pitches, a golf course, tennis courts, perhaps a swimming pool e.t.c. People of older age mainly, but also of younger ages, want to explore the cultural and folk element of the areas they visit. For some, this is a key criterion to their final selection of a vacation place. Now, what happens at our area is truly outrageous. Although there’re a lot we could display, especially at the cultural era, but at the folk one as well, nothing is done towards this direction. Thus, a museum is required, for both the ancient displays and the folk art. Also an exemplar of a traditional neighborhood of the area, at which various types of appearances related to the traditional way of life of the area, will be hosted. In addition to that, an open amphitheater is required for the presentation of spectacles such as concerts and theatrical productions of the contemporary and ancient repertoire. Especially the latter will also contribute to the rise of the cultural level of the entire area, not to mention the rest of the island.
7. One last measure that becomes increasingly necessary is that of the establishment of Tourist Police. This will have the authority to examine and monitor the proper function of the various establishments according to their working permits. Also, and perhaps of greater importance, is the responsibility of the police to guard the public order and intervene at incidences taking place amidst visitors or between visitors and residences.
Considering all that was pointed out through these few lines I believe that the resume is easily derived: The form that the tourist product of Cyprus in general and of the Ammohostos area, as a coast, is no more attractive to the visitors. The result will be a slow but steady degeneracy of the number of visitors which will also lead the tourism industry to its decline. This means that drastic measures are required so that the choices provided to the presumed visitors are expanded. We believe that this is the only way we will continue to benefit from tourism.