Writer Soteris Kefalas speaks about his work
In order to prepare the bi-lingual series of six books, totalling about 2000 pages, I devoted thousands of hours from the leisure and holiday time to which all workers and fathers of large families are entitled. I worked night and day with a great deal of love and enthusiasm and spent much money. It was with some bitterness that I discovered that despite the words of praise I received for my contribution, the long hours I devoted to preparing the books and the large sums of money I paid to publish them did not yield me any returns. If I had spent the time in professional employment I would have had twofold gain: by saving the money I spent to publish the twelve books and by earning money by working for a fee. I am not complaining about what I did since I did it out of love: love for Cyprus and for Paralimni, my home town. I also did what I did out of love for the profession I chose to follow: the hotel and catering business. So even though I knew from the outset that publishing my books would cost me a great deal in both time and money and I would receive nothing in exchange, I undertook the venture all the same because I am above all an educator and feel duty bound to offer my knowledge to all who might have need of it and because I am a man who has great love for his country.
Cyprus is a modern European country on the crossroads of three continents and civilizations. Civilizations and cultures meet here in a setting of phenomenal beauty and cultural heritage. After Cyprus became an independent state in 1960 priority was given to the tourist development of the island. Except for the terrible blow dealt by the Turkish invasion of 1974 development in this area has been continuous and rapid and today tourism is one of the main sectors of the economy of Cyprus.
The healthy climate, the natural beauty, the archaeological wealth and the traditional hospitality of the Cypriot people make the island ideal as a holiday destination. The number of tourists is more than double the local population in the government-controlled areas. The great increase in tourist arrivals began in the 1960s. From about 25, the numbers rose in the early 1970s to 264,000 (in 1973) – an increase of about 900%. In contrast, arrivals in the rest of the world rose by about 175%. The establishment of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) in 1969 contributed to this increase in the number of visitors to Cyprus, who by 2018 numbered 3,500,000. I hope and trust that the CTO will implement the strategic plan that has been announced so that Cyprus tourism will once again see better days.
Cyprus is now officially a part of the great European family. We are part of a family that has greatly raised the bar as far as the quality of life is concerned as well as the quality of services provided. We are therefore called upon to tackle the new situation with courage and boldness, ready to make radical changes and improvements aimed at full compliance with the demands of the European community.
The product that has supported our economy and contributed greatly to Cyprus’s joining the EU, the product that has so aptly been called the goose that lays the golden eggs, is unfortunately in danger because of amateurish approaches that lower the quality of the product offered to visitors.
My long years of experience with the catering arts and the hotel industry, with undergraduate and post-graduate studies in the USA and the UK, my involvement as instructor of hotel studies and subsequently as Supervisor of Hotel and Catering Studies of the Ministry of Education and Culture as well as my involvement in my family’s hotel and catering units, have led me in pursuit of the ideal and the sustainable. I have been led on a quest to discover what needs to be done in order to make tourists come back to Cyprus repeatedly.
Based on the above reasoning, I investigated what was lacking in the literature and proceeded to write my books, in Greek to begin with. Later, when colleagues who teach at the various colleges saw my books, they suggested that it would be useful to have them in English also so that overseas students could use them as well. Although such a venture was extremely costly, and sales forecasts were not particularly favourable, the teacher in me urged me on to have the books translated into English. I trust that my books will help those involved in the hotel, tourism, and catering industries both in Cyprus and other countries as well.
Thank you for the award-winning editions of Ch. Andreu, who zealously edited all my books.