One of the many attractive features that Cyprus has to offer, is that of the water dams which are scattered everywhere, especially in the Paphos and Limassol region.
In addition to the human necessity of such dams, they could be used for a variety of sports for which the dams are especially suitable, such as rowing, canoeing, small boat sailing, water ski training etc.
Some of these dams are a beauty to the visitors’ eyes and as an example, we point out the Xyliatos dam (near Nicosia) where forest trees and especially pines emerge through the water, the waterfall and with a footpath to go around.
Most of the dams have a nature trail to enjoy for dog walks and cycling, whereas others include picnic areas with tables, as well as sanitary facilities.
These dams which are overflowing, are a visual pleasure, a unique work of nature for Cyprus.
Unfortunately, the dams are not exploited to their full potential and we blame the Government for not promoting them as an attraction in themselves and we also blame as well the local authorities for the same reason.
We believe that now we might have a chance to implement some of the following and other ideas, with the recent set-up of the new Minister of Tourism, who has produced good work over the 12 months of his appointment, whom we expect will look into the subject more closely.
To this end, the use of the dams and exploring the local environment will help locals and foreign visitors extend their tourist season visits, a beautiful place to bond (business including) and participate in Cypriot outdoor activities.
During the years of Mr Andreas Christou who was the mayor of Limassol and following our own suggestion, he called a meeting of all Limassol District Municipalities and Authorities (including the S.B.A.) to discuss how nature could help in outdoor activities.
The matter of the dams was discussed and the people representing the public Water Department, expressed their own ideas as did the tourist officials, but both expressed their reservations since the use of dams required regulations to be approved by the House of Representatives submitted to them 12 years ago and it is still pending!!
The S.B.A. representative suggested also the use of a fun small train going through the Fasouri plantation and leading to historic places, such as Curium, Kolossi castle etc.
It is a fact that the water dams are not always full, but over the last couple of years, God has blessed Cyprus with plenty of rainwater, hence it is time for consideration.
Dams could be explored by private firms (or others) with the cooperation of the Water Development Department, to allow the use of their embankment by 1-2 café/ restaurants, clubs relating to sports etc.
These investors (legal issues apart) could construct parking and access passages to the water level including the construction of boat shelters.
These investments could attract the Cyprus Sports Association (KOA) funds, as well as that of the E.U. and others.
Where we are at present, sea sports do not lend themselves for all year round activity, they depend on the weather conditions and facilities provided.
The dams depending on their size could be used for different sports/activities.
Such as the Polemidhia dam for ski lessons, Xyliatos dam for fishing, Kourris and Yermasoyia dams for sailing/rowing, whereas others such as the Lefkara one for hiking and bird watching.
These are just examples since there are sizeable dams in the Paphos region worth considering for similar and other attractions.
Two years ago, we attended a dragon boat race at the Yermasoyia dam and despite the limited facilities, we had a great fun family time.
Coming back to the lengthening the tourist season, it is notable that Ayia Napa Municipality has become most successful by hosting football teams which helps extend its tourist season, most rewarding to the hoteliers and entertainment establishments during the off-peak season.
We see very little initiative by other Municipalities, whereas the bureaucracy of the Government is most shocking and does not help.
A proposal to construct a theme-adventure park at Troodos, with the investor having waited for 4 years to get a reply on the level of the lease rent, despite the Government’s initial approval, he has pulled out of the project being fed up of waiting.
Other ideas of unexplored Cyprus beauty are the numerous Theme Parks in Ayia Napa, such as the Sculpture Park, the indigenous plants, the Love Bridge, the sinking of boats to create reefs etc.
Larnaca is taking the initiative with the very recent sinking of two large ships for divers (see Zenobia which is the world’s third most popular divers spot).
An example to be avoided is the recently constructed beach volley courts at the Protaras area which hosted the international games of universities and which after the games, was abandoned and are now vandalised (no reaction by the local Municipality or the local hoteliers – shocking).
We will insist on the exploration of Cyprus nature and its diversity since it is widely admitted that our tourist product of sun and sea is not sustainable nowadays.