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Village routes through Cyprus September 20, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus.

A new initiative aimed at increasing sustainable tourism delivery to benefit villages previously marginalised by tourism and at giving tourists a unique experience of the real Cyprus has been launched.

Named, ‘The Village Routes’, the concept is driven by the recognised increased demand for more independent travel in Cyprus using rental cars.

According to Philippos Drousiotis, Chairman of the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI), an organisation that represents key tourism stakeholders, “the tourism market on the island is characterised by a percentage of repeat and long-stay visitors especially during the ‘shoulder’ seasons. These visitors stay both in hotels and villas and want to be able to explore the island, but with some defined route map, and where the tourism services indicated on the map will give them a sincere and traditional Cyprus welcome.”

The initiative is being developed in partnership with all CSTI members such as UK tour operators, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, municipalities, environmental NGOs and hoteliers, to provide a quality, natural and cultural experience of Cyprus, not normally on offer to the ordinary tourist.

Drousiotis explained: “Following the Travel Foundation pilot project in Cyprus (2002-2005) that produced the Support Abandoned Villages and their Environment excursion, the Travel Sustainable Tourism Group has now created its own Cypriot NGO, the CSTI.”

The aim is to develop six Village Routes during the project period May 2006-November 2007. Routes will be along the east and west coasts and the mountains. The specifics have not yet been finalised, although Drousiotis told us that, “one will definitely encompass the Laona district in Paphos, which includes the villages of Kathikas, Droushia, Thrinia, Arodes, Kritou and Kritou Tera.”

Promotional material including a booklet will be placed in hotels, rental cars and tour operator companies supporting the initiative.

Drousiotis explained that tour operators have committed themselves to purchasing the booklets. “For CSTI and the Travel Foundation, being sustainable means not only environmentally, but commercially, economically and socially sustainable too,” he said.

Project impacts will be monitored and evaluated and lessons learnt will be posted on the Travel Foundation website.

Related Link > www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk

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