Kudos to the ‘greener’ Ayia Napa
E DII TO RII A L
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.