One of the many attractive features that Cyprus has, is water dams which are scattered everywhere, especially in the Paphos and Limassol regions.
In addition to the human necessity of such water dams, they could be used for a variety of sports for which the dams are especially suited, such as rowing, canoeing, small boat sailing, water-ski training.
Some of these dams are natural beauty spots such as Xyliatos dam (near Nicosia) where forest trees and especially pines emerge through the water, a waterfall and footpath for walking around.
Most of the dams have a nature trail, most suitable for lovers of nature, dog walks and cycling, whereas others include picnic areas with tables, as well as toilet facilities.
These dams 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 and we also blame the local authorities for the same reason.
We believe now we might have a chance with the new Minister of Tourism, who has produced good work over the 24 months of his appointment, whom we expect will look into the subject more closely.
The use of dams and the exploitation of the local environment will help in extending the tourist season and supporting outdoor activities.
During the years of Mr Christou was the mayor of Limassol, he called a meeting of all Limassol District Municipalities and authorities (and including the British Bases) 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 ideas as did tourism officials, but both expressed their reservation, and such ideas were blocked.
Using dams required regulations to be approved by the House of Representatives submitted to them 14 years ago and are still pending!!
The Bases representative also suggested the use of a fun small train connection going through the Fasouri plantation and leading to historic places, such as Curium, Kolossi castle etc.
Water dams are not always full, but over the last couple of years, God has blessed Cyprus with plenty of rainwater.
Dams could be explored by private firms (or others) with the cooperation of the Water Development Department, to allow the use of their embankment for café/ restaurants, sports clubs etc.
These investors (legal issues apart) could construct parking and access to the water level including the construction of boat shelters.
These investments could attract the Cyprus Sports Association (KOA) funds, as well as from the E.U. and others.
At present, sea sports do not lend themselves for all year round use and they depend on the weather condition and facilities provided, losing valuable entertainment/ time.
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, Lefkara for hiking and bird watching.
These are just examples since there are sizeable dams in the Paphos region worth considering for similar and other uses.
Four years ago, we attended a dragon boat race at the Yermasoyia dam and despite the limited facilities, we had a great fun family time.
Notably, Ayia Napa Municipality has become most successful in hosting several football teams which helps extend its tourist season, most rewarding to the hoteliers and entertainment establishments during the off-peak.
We see very limited initiative by other Municipalities, whereas the bureaucracy of the government is most shocking and does not help.
Other ideas of unexplored Cyprus beauty have taken place at Ayia Napa, such as the Sculpture Park, the indigenous plants, the Love Bridge, the sinking of boats to create reefs etc.
Larnaca is also taking the initiative with the very recent sinking of two large ships for divers (see Zenobia which is the third most popular divers’ spot in the world).
An example to be avoided is the recently constructed beach volleyball courts in Protaras which hosted the international games of universities.
After the games, it was abandoned and is now vandalized (no reaction by the local Municipality or the local hoteliers – shocking).
Larnaca is taking over this sport but it is not the same.
Limassol could use the Ladies Mile beach area and Paphos the “German” Farmhouse. Akamas park is a rising star for outdoor activity when and if it will happen after a 20-year waiting period.
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.
The pandemic forced Cypriots to visit Cyprus, as opposed to excursions abroad.
Based on recent reports the public is most enthusiastic (especially for the mountains and Paphos region) – so there is a benefit out of this tragedy.