While almost all the municipalities in the tourist areas are trying to extend their tourist season, perhaps, the only municipality which has a long way to go is Paralimni (and the greater region), which although has the prospects, I do not observe any signs of an effort in this direction.
Since there is nothing else special in the area, apart from the use of sports, especially during the winter season, I suggest a low-cost approach on how to achieve this goal.
Apart from the rich budget of the municipality, perhaps the contribution of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, the European Union, Ministry of Education and the state help will help in the realisation of the following:
- Volleyball: A few years ago, an international competition was held and the relevant courts were prepared in the area of Protaras. After 15 days and when the games were over, the playing fields were abandoned despite the initial cost of preparation. The municipality should undertake the management and upgrading of these courts by organising competition (e.g. between hotel patrons, local teams, etc.) and in summer and autumn to host international matches. The Nicosia municipality cannot organise beach volley tournaments, but this can be done in Yeroskipou on an annual basis while Paralimni have the courts in a coastal position and have abandon them. The cost of a new investment is about EUR 200.000.
- Tennis/Basketball (10 courts): There are extensive plots along the beach, some of which were created on paper for use by the hotels and for which there is no interest. There are also plenty on plots on the hills. Investment: EUR 500.000
- Motorcycle Races: This can take place in the area between Paralimni-Ayia Napa on barren agricultural areas and to use the existing and new roads. This is an extreme sport but it attracts quite a few young people. Road construction and repairs cost is EUR 300.000.
- Sailing: Lease by the municipality of coastal plots of at least 15,000 sq.m. and execution of the project by private associations with the participation of the municipality. You only need a small ramp to lift the boats (see the successful operation of the small bay at the Mimoza Hotel, but it is inadequate). Perhaps the area south of Green Bay is appropriate. Cost: EUR 1.5 million
- Diving/Rowing: The recent example (approximately 10 years ago) of the sinking by the municipality of a ship in the Golden Coast area and the irrational negative reaction of the then Minister of Agriculture is not a sign of encouragement, but I am believe that the Municipality should insist on the placement of other objects, such as in Larnaca and the sunken statues in Ayia Napa. Recently Dubai sank two Dutch warships, while in Cuba they sank a Jumbo jet to enhance diving tourism. The Zenobia in Larnaka has become quite a popular destination for international diving. Perhaps the sinking of large statues of antiquity with the gods of Olympus is an alternative thought. In addition, the creation of rowing competitions in perhaps the calmest sea in Cyprus (Fig Tree bay) will allow this sport to take off. Of course, the special rowing boats are not suitable for the sea and perhaps the municipality will undertake the purchase of more heavy boats of 6 rowers capacity, at a cost of EUR 5.000/boat, plus the creation of a club house. When facilities are available, various associations and interest from schools for the sport will be created, while organised groups of tourists can be invited. The spectacular boat rowing in Hong Kong with its own color and that of Thailand (Dragon Race), is a source of attraction for tourists from all over the world. Cost EUR 500.000.
- Mini-Football Fields: Futsal, in the rural area and coastal protected zone on the initiative and with the encouragement of the municipality, can serve tourists and locals in the wider area. Cost EUR 500.000.
- Horse Racing: With the help of the Horse Racing Club – at least 3-4 times a year – perhaps the wider area of the Paralimni Lake can be offered for such events. This event combined with some celebration with a fair will be a good combination of fun for all ages of locals and foreigners. I saw a similar event in Italy. Cost EUR 800.000.
- Support of events: Strengthening the promotion of the existing efforts of the municipality in the already existing events, such as the promotion of the events of Kataklysmos, Easter, Christmas together with promotion of the various excellent seaside chapels for weddings, christenings (for locals and foreigners), the promotion of the walking route in Cape Greco, with jogging and cycling races in an unprecedented beautiful environment will be additional attractions for the municipality. The investment cost here could be around EUR 1.0 mil.
Of course I am not an expert on the subject, but these and other ideas that will be put on the table as a comprehensive plan and not as individual projects could help extend the tourist season and engage and entertain both the locals and visitors. Preferably, the creation of a Tourism Development Council, with the participation of the municipality, local businesses, the Ministry of Education and Sports, hoteliers, local tour operators, should be an idea, but with administration from the private sector. Perhaps many of these facilities could be rented to private individuals to cover maintenance costs.
Something needs to be done in the area because the very short tourist season of Paralimni and Ayia Napa is very problematic with billions of investments idle for 70% of the season, hoteliers not having the resources to upgrade their hotels, the local scene remaining the same in the area for decades and worse, there is no hope for a better future in the visible horizon.
If all that was mentioned does not exceed an investment of EUR 7.0 million (probably an exaggeration) and we do not invest, then we will be worthy of the fate of the region for its stagnation. The much-advertised golf course in the Ayia Napa and Paralimni area seems not to be progressing and this is confirmed by the silence from those concerned. What a pity.
By Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Property Appraisers, Property Sellers & Development Project Managers