Campsites for tourists | Cyprus Mail
The Deputy Minister of Tourism talks about improving the quality of our tourism product, local hotels and places of recreation, both in terms of buildings and facilities and the service provided. This same deputy minister now encourages the development of organized campsites in “non-habitable areas”.
The proposal states that the camps should be set up in wooded areas.
There are a number of limitations and requirements, including the existence of a sewage system, electricity and other utilities, as well as parking. Camps must be fenced all around and have a security fence.
We have noted the fashion for yurts (Mongolian-style tents) that popped up here and there in previous articles. It is a fact that some people opt for adventure vacations, and in other countries these are settled “in the middle of nowhere”. With an internet search, we discovered such projects in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Jordan, etc.
Cyprus has always had a problem of makeshift “accommodation” everywhere, such as on Governor’s Beach, Troodos Square, Trooditissa Monastery and to a lesser extent in seaside resorts – very visible in the Polis area, near Latchi . These “camps” are set up randomly and are often an eyesore. They are also generally illegal, but Cyprus is not removed.
If the aforementioned project goes ahead, people will use it to make these sites even more mainstream. The restrictions will be followed very loosely, if at all, and pressure groups and the like will use our MPs to push for their relaxation and all kinds of abuse will occur.
And where do you think these “tourist campsites” will be located? Most likely in mountain areas – Troodos, Pissouri, Lofou, etc. – and ecological destruction will follow. Akamas is probably the most at risk of this project.
Camping in Cyprus is mostly used by young people, who take the opportunity to party at any time of the day. It’s easy to see how a bushfire might start.
Browsing through facilities like this online, you see beautiful igloo and other style tents, and sites where the rules and nature are respected. Considering the mentality in Cyprus, this is unlikely to be the case here. It is important to note that in other places these are isolated projects in large areas of wilderness, occupying a fraction of the land. In densely developed Cyprus, where we have so little wilderness left, this idea does not fit.
If this is to happen, there really has to be strict adherence to the rules and we recommend at least these additional requirements:
- Minimum site area 130,000 m²
- Maintenance of existing vegetation, plus planting of new trees at least 4 m high of the type already existing on the site under the supervision of the forest service. Annual permits for camps do not need to be renewed if trees are not maintained
- A fire protection team present at all times
- Operators must have a bank guarantee of at least € 100,000 to cover the destruction of trees and the environment in the event of fire or other
- Private security in place with one person for 10 tents at all times
Are we exaggerating on how this is going to turn out? We are afraid not.
There was an attempt to build five yurts in Platres, to which we protested. The project is then abandoned. The felled pines were never replaced and the area was littered with debris, which is still there a year later.
We understand that these kinds of ideas are desperate attempts to revive tourism and change our image, but this is not the right way to go. There is so much more that our island has to offer.
Our only hope is that these ideas do not come true because they are not financially viable. Although who knows what else they will find in the future.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Experts, Real Estate Agents & Real Estate Consultants, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]