During a tourist meeting that was done by a political party DISY on April 11th at Paralimni Municipality with presence of Minister of Tourism, Mr. Paschalides Antonis, I have inferred that the Municipalities of Famagusta District Area, the association of hoteliers, the people who involve in tourism, they do not approach the tourist problems with scientific research that could enhance the tourist product. Two months ago, I was in Crete Island for cookery competition that the Vocational School of Paralimni was participated, and I have seen in newspapers that the hoteliers of Crete have allowed the University of Crete to make a research concerning the Crete Tourist Problems. I was wondering why do not allow our University to do a research or somebody who is expert in this hotel and tourism field (everybody in Cyprus is expert, everybody knows everything in anything). I’m involved in tourism for 25 years and I have not seen any research done by the local authorities and organized groups of tourism concerning tourism and show the results of this research. What type of tourism we want? Have we ever wondered why tourists want to come to Ayia Napa or Protaras for holidays since our culture is inexistent? And many other questions concerning this beautiful tourist destination so that to solve our problems in Famagusta District Area.
I would like to remind both the Municipality of Paralimni and Ayia Napa, the hoteliers association of Famagusta District Area and anyone who involves in tourism business that I have done a research concerning the quality of service for the Four Star Hotels in 2000 from the guests prospective with the following research paper:
The findings of my research are as follows:
1. It is not enough to provide the highest quality of physical goods (excellent tourist facilities to marvellous places of luxury buildings and furniture, trendy lounges and restaurants and gifts and entertainment areas), nor the healthy climate with its natural beauty, clean seas and sunshine in most of the year, nor the archaeological wealth and the traditional hospitality to fulfilled the customer-tourists' and to submit that the hotel unit is the ideal for the coming holidays.
2. We need quality service, based on expectations and perceptions of customer-tourist and not the expectations and perceptions of the businessman, address or hotel employee. The customer satisfaction tourist-and the fulfilment of expectations adds value on material assets and increase profits, reduces the competitiveness, since the customer becomes a tourist source to attract customers, thus reducing the cost of advertising, and generally brings success and the advantages and functionally.
3. It should periodically be conducted by specialists for the research quality of services offered to identify the gap between the expectations of holidaymakers and service offerings. Based on the findings of the investigation to form this new policy of the unit and not simply accept the prevailing perception is now political and address of each unit, which is mainly based on existing theoretical and empirical perspective.
4. The regular training for staff at the beginning of the summer season, it is now necessary to revise the current views, data and the findings of the previous year. In parallel, will provide an opportunity for the new staff to be trained and attaches the utmost outset expectations of the tourist unit.
I cite below suggestions for the people who are involved in tourism which could have had in their consideration in order to improve our tourist product in Famagusta District Area.
a. It needs to have to have a better structure of Famagusta Tourist Committee. It is an imperative need that such a committee be set up with experts in the field (researcher, economist, town planner, statistician, architect, civil engineer, members of the local hoteliers’ and hotel managers’ committee, local authorities, etc) in order to solve the problems of the area, with the ultimate aim of upgrading the quality of our tourist product. I believe there are sufficient people with enough experience in the hotel sector who could help to achieve the goals of Famagusta Tourist Area. This committee must be made up of people without any party-political or personal interests.
b. Training and education of human resources. Another important role in upgrading our tourism services is played by the training and education of the people who work or are involved with tourism (e.g. hotel owners and managers, hotel, restaurant and pub workers, taxi owners etc). I stress once again and will repeat this as often as necessary: without specialised professionals, correct planning and the right professional and tourist conscience and awareness we can achieve nothing.
c. The operation of night clubs until the early hours, the minor incidents that arise, which are not settled because of the lack of a tourist police. The establishment of a tourist police force would create order in the tourist area and give a sense of security to both locals and visitors. The tourist police would not only control the closing hours of the night clubs, the noise pollution from the motorcycles and pubs, the minor incidents that occur at night, but also check on the operating licenses of the restaurants and bars that are granted to unqualified persons resulting in low standards of service and profiteering. For these reasons it is imperative that a tourist police force be established in order to tackle the situation in the free areas of Famagusta.
d. The lack of sufficient parking spaces results in a large number of problems on our roads, such as high noise and nuisance levels by drivers and motorcyclists causing annoyance to our visitors.
e. The lack of public spaces for our tourists in the area’s roads, with the result that the tourists enter the various hotels and restaurants.
f. The creation of new infrastructures for the development of special forms of tourism (e.g. agro tourism, cultural tourism, sports tourism, and marine and health tourism) will help to further upgrade the area as a quality tourist destination. These special forms of tourism will bring about double benefits, since on the one hand we will attract high income and education tourists and on the other, the problem of seasonality that causes so much hardship every year will be alleviated. The creation of new infrastructures for the development of special forms of tourism will improve the quality not only of our tourist product but also of the lives of the local residents.
⇒Sport Tourism. Where is our modern sports centre, courts for tennis, basketball, volleyball, an indoor swimming pool, futsal courts, a Sports Museum to exhibit both our own athletes and other sports personalities, a funfair for children and so many other things that can attract tourists who are interested in sport and who can also provide us with winter tourism? This is a serious problem that the local authorities must tackle with correct planning.
⇒ Marine and Health Tourism. The absence of a Tourist Beach and Marina with modern specifications (pavements, snack – bars, electrical lighting, toilets etc) which our municipality can exploit. In addition, a Spa Centre with gym rooms, heated pools, special quality food etc. Finally, a Maritime Museum to attract marine and health tourism.
⇒ Cultural Tourism. Where in the whole of the Ayia Napa-Protaras area can the traditional element be found that will attract cultural tourism? We could have a traditional neighbourhood to promote our culture (i.e. our customs and traditions), a historical museum which will show the world ALL THE STRUGGLES OF OUR LOCAL POPULATION IN MODERN HISTORY (1955-1960 struggle for liberation, Turkish invasion, missing persons, heroes, etc).
⇒ Agrotourism. This kind of tourism could revive our local countryside and preserve our environment and agriculture. This environment could contain traditional Cypriot houses, a museum of farming, a Cypriot coffee house, and animal farms.
⇒ Conference Tourism. The creation of conference centre will enhance our tourist product.
g. All of us in the Free Famagusta Area boast of QUALITY TOURISM. I really wonder, with the problems we now face and the basic lack of infrastructure and works, how we imagine we can create a quality tourist destination. Without wishing to criticise anyone I believe that we all bear some responsibility and must face the truth. Sun, sea and hospitality (which is gradually dying out) are not enough to satisfy the needs and demands of QUALITY TOURISM. I wonder, Free Famagusta Area has anything to offer besides sun, sea and a little hospitality, so that we can boast of QUALITY TOURISM? Where is the Cypriot element in the whole of the area?
Famagusta District Area has become an advertising billboard: menus on the pavements, restaurant owners soliciting for custom, badly constructed buildings, illegal alterations to shops and restaurants, and the most “attractive” sight in Free Famagusta Area is the large number of estate agents selling tourist villas and apartments. This is a very serious issue that must be dealt with by the local authorities through correct planning.
Our place is now officially a member of the enlarged European family. We are members of a family, which greatly raise the bar so as to the quality of our lives, like, in terms of quality of services provision. So, we have been called to deal with these new realities with bravery and courage, willing to make radical changes and improvements in order to meet fully with the requirements of the European community.
Finishing my article, I would like to emphasize to the people of the Famagusta District Area that it is the time to show confidence to the Cypriots researchers who are fighting for the survival of the Cyprus tourism. We are in difficult times and need to exploit people who know the topic « tourism», with more seriousness and professionalism, if we want to see better times for the tourism industry.