Ku­dos to the ‘greener’ Ayia Napa

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Mayor Yian­nis Karousos seems to have taken his job as Mayor of Ayia Napa quite se­ri­ously, of­ten out and about, tak­ing ad­van­tage of photo op­por­tu­ni­ties with pupils plant­ing trees or dish­ing out awards by the buck­et­load to ‘re­peat’ tourists, vis­it­ing the east­ern coast for the record umpteenth time.

The re­sort town has re­vised its one-way sys­tem to al­low for smother traf­fic to flow through, while the de­mands of grum­bling shop own­ers are grad­u­ally be­ing met.

But Karousos’ big­gest ar­gu­ment has been that al­though Ayia Napa ac­counts for a pro­por­tion­ally higher share of stays, it is ap­por­tioned a pro­por­tion­ately lower bud­get when it comes to pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture, ei­ther for in­fra­struc­ture or tourism pro­mo­tion.

Per­haps he is right, but he, and other desti­na­tion may­ors, are fight­ing an up­hill bat­tle in a coun­try that de­spite sev­eral decades of talk, still has no clear-cut strat­egy as re­gards tourism and the fu­ture of the in­dus­try. And when we say ‘fu­ture’, we mean re­ally long term, ten or twenty years down the road.

Un­til then, it is up to re­sorts to do their own thing and with their own re­sources.

How­ever, it must be said that some funds are avail­able to the var­i­ous town to fix up their im­age and clean up their act, with Paphos in the lime­light for its Mayor Phe­don Phe­do­nos sit­ting be­hind the con­trols of trac­tor ear­lier this month to per­son­ally take charge of the ‘facelift’ projects.

On the other hand, Ayia Napa seems to know where it is headed, or at least is fol­low­ing the world­wide in­dus­try trends and is opt­ing for a greener town, mak­ing it more at­trac­tive to mainly Euro­pean hol­i­day­mak­ers.

Only last week, the town said it was im­ple­ment­ing the so­lar lights pro­gramme to grad­u­ally re­place its street lamps with stand­alone units, which al­though ex­pen­sive to in­vest in ini­tially, make them eco­nom­i­cally vi­able in the long run. As the EU fund­ing for the pro­ject may be lim­ited, as a sug­ges­tion, per­haps Mayor Karousos should ap­proach busi­nesses to ‘buy’ the so­lar street lamps in front of their es­tab­lish­ments, in re­turn for a small tax break, as a sweet­ener.

This week, the town has pro­ceeded to take down some of the ad­ver­tis­ing bill­boards, er­rat­i­cally dot­ted around town, mak­ing it an uglier place than vis­i­tors per­ceive it to be.

Tourists like their hol­i­days to be sim­ple and avoid clut­tered des­ti­na­tions, with too much noise, both au­dio and vis­ual. Hence, Ayia Napa is on the right track.

With the grand ma­rina pro­ject also, hope­fully, get­ting un­der­way soon, Mayor Karousos may be ahead of the pack as re­gards know­ing what his town needs and wants.

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