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Water tourism should be explored

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One of Cyprus’ many attractive features is the water dams scattered across the country, especially in the Paphos and Limassol regions.

In addition to the basic supply necessity of such dams, they could be used for various sports for which the dams are especially suitable, such as rowing, canoeing, small boat sailing, water ski training.

Some of these dams are a beauty to the visitors’ eyes.

For example, I would like to point out the Xyliatos dam (near Nicosia), where forest trees and especially pines emerge through the water the waterfall and with a footpath for all walks to go around.

Most dams have a nature trail going around them, suitable for nature lovers, dog walks, cycling, and picnic areas with facilities.

These dams, four of which overflowed this week, are a visual pleasure, a unique work of nature.

Unfortunately, the dams are not exploited to their fullest potential, and we often blame the authorities for not promoting them.

Now, we might have a chance to implement some of the following and other ideas with the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, which has produced good work its 30 months of establishment.

The dams and the exploitation of the local environment will help extend tourist season visits, a beautiful place to bond, and extend outdoor activities during all seasons.

When Andreas Christou was the mayor of Limassol, upon my suggestion, he called a meeting of all nearby municipalities and authorities (including the British Bases) to discuss outdoor activities.

The matter of the dams was discussed, and the people representing the Water Development Department expressed their ideas.

There were reservations since the use of the dams required regulations to be approved by the House of Representatives, submitted 16 years ago and still pending.

The water dams are not always full, but God has blessed Cyprus with plenty of rainwater over the last years, so it is time for reconsideration.

Areas near dams could be exploited by private investment with the cooperation of the Water Development Department to allow the use of their embankment with cafés or restaurants, sporting clubs, etc.

These investors should build parking and access to the water level, including boat shelters.

These investments could attract funds from the Cyprus Sports Association (KOA), the E.U. and other finance.

Water sports do not lend themselves for all year round use, and they depend on the weather condition and facilities provided.

The dams could be used for different sports and activities depending on their size.

For example, Polemidhia dam for ski lessons, Xyliatos dam for fishing, Kourris and Yermasoyia for sailing, rowing and dragon boat racing, smaller ones at Lefkara for hiking and bird watching.

Coming back to extending the tourist season, we must admit that Ayia Napa municipality has become most successful by hosting football teams in winter, most rewarding to the hoteliers and entertainment establishments during the off-peak.

I 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 countryside are the numerous themed attractions in Ayia Napa, such as the new underwater sculpture park, the indigenous plants, the Love Bridge, the sinking of boats to create reefs for diving.

Larnaca is taking over the sport of beach volley on its popular Mackenzie seafront, while  Limassol could use the Ladies Mile area (with a master plan still pending for the last four years).

Akamas park is a rising star for outdoor sports, such as trekking, mountain biking and trail runners.

Our tourist product of sun and sea is no longer sustainable.

The pandemic forced Cypriots to visit places they had never seen before in Cyprus instead of excursions abroad.

It created enthusiasm, especially for the mountains and Paphos region.

By Antonis Loizou, Real Estate Valuer, Property Consultant & Estate Agent