Written by Yiannis Karousos, Ayia Napa Mayor
In recent years, we have started an effort to improve the quality of Ayia Napa with several positive results.
We have achieved the expansion of the tourist season, we have solved problems, we have taken important political and municipal decisions and upgraded our infrastructure through government projects.
A their most, hotels and touristic units have been refurbished and upgraded, while at the same time we have managed to attract investments that will create pan-European landmarks: A typical example is the Marina of Ayia Napa.
Our city has been greatly improved both in terms of infrastructure and aesthetics.
At the same time, the tourist experience and its good reputation have been improved.
The brand name “Ayia Napa” has greatly strengthened abroad and there is certainly plenty of room for extra support.
In all of the above, there is a “but”. Unfortunately, the sector, in which there was no qualitative upgrading – on the contrary we could say that there was a downgrade – is that of nightlife and entertainment. Indeed, from 2001 onwards, slowly but gradually, it has deteriorated and degraded to such an extent, that it does not reminiscent of the famous cosmopolitan entertainment of previous years.
That is how we have come to this point of “entertainment”, attracting tourists, who by their conduct and their actions essentially contribute to the defamation of Ayia Napa.
These tourists account for less than 8% of Ayia Napa’s arrivals, but they cause multiple damage to our city’s image.
For us, it’s time to change the level and to upgrade all the features of Ayia Napa, including entertainment.
That is why we had to make the right political decisions about our vision and goals.
The recent announcement of the city of Ayia Napa about the future of the tourist product and its qualitative upgrading surprised several people. But it is not a decision that came luckily, but a decision taken after consulting all the ”bodies” of our city. A decision that is fully in line with the recommendations of the National Tourism Strategy with a timeline and a final goal in 2030. These suggestions ought to be applied by Cyprus in addition to Ayia Napa.
The Strategy divides Cyprus into 13 tourist resorts and sets the goals and the vision for everyone.
For Agia Napa, in particular, it sets the vision for 2030 to become one of the top three tourist destinations in Europe at sea and entertainment, on the basis of international standards and infrastructures, a vision in which the under construction Marina will have an important role.
It is a vision that honors us especially since it is proposed by an independent House of international scope, with a specialization in the field of Tourism Strategies.
An important factor in achieving our goal is the implementation of major infrastructure projects, either in the process of being implemented or claimed through national resources, which the Government should include in the state budgets. The core of our strategy is to create benchmarks that will create positive impressions for visitors and contribute to what we call a comprehensive tourist experience.
Ayia Napa Marina, with its unique architecture and quality, will attract tourism as well as permanent residents with high income criteria, contributing to a total quality upgrade.
Upgrading the city center and especially the nightlife area will improve both the quality of dining and nightlife in general, and motivate entrepreneurs to upgrade their business and look for higher-level clientele.
At the same time, upgrading the center and the northern side of the city and restoring its character will create the center we miss, especially in the winter months, while attracting tourism throughout the year. The open-air amphitheater-center of culture will attract international events and related tourism, while the upgrading of religious tourism is planned by turning the medieval monastery into a remarkable museum and research center. In addition, the sculpture park will be completed with its infrastructure.
Of course, the beaches and the upgrading of their infrastructure and services, as well as the consolidation of the entire coastal front, will enhance the character of the cosmopolitan tourist resort and the quality of its visitors.
In addition, plans are being made to create an environmental park, create a suitable dock for cruise ship attachments, create a submarine museum on the artificial reef and create a study center / museum dedicated to the Nobel Prize winner, George Seferis, and an international park of culture.
The City Council unanimously adopted a difficult decision, setting a solid foundation to support and secure the future of Ayia Napa for a long time. Our decision may not have liked many, but the City Council preferred to be useful rather than liking and to prioritize the good of Ayia Napa and Cyprus as a whole.
But this effort to upgrade must be supported by everyone and especially the Government. Ayia Napa can indeed become one of the top European tourist resorts if it has the proper support of everyone and especially the central political power.
Besides, when you can dream you can do miracles!