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Time to bring families back to Ayia Napa? August 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Ayia Napa.
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As the world’s clubbers have moved on, is it time for what was once Cyprus’ hottest resort to look to new markets to keep afloat?

A plan to change the face of Ayia Napa is causing widespread debate among business owners and employees in the area. Two camps seem to have been established, with business-owners and residents on one side and pub and club owners on the other. And while the two sides remain at loggerheads over which type of tourist is best for the area, it is painfully apparent that their sheer number is nowhere near what it used to be.

Ayia Napa earned a notorious reputation around five years ago as one of the best holiday destinations for clubbing youths. Millions of tourists poured into the once sleepy fishing village and boosted by their cash, the village, almost overnight, grew into one of the hottest holiday resorts in Europe.

That has all since changed. Some say this is for the best while others argue it spells the end for Ayia Napa. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) is well aware of the falling arrivals and has started an advertising campaign on large television networks including Eurosport, Euronews and CNN to lure family tourists to the island.

Christopher Avgousti, who co-owns Spangles Boutique, is in favour of the changes that are currently taking place in Ayia Napa. “There appears to be a plan in process to upgrade the village and bring a better quality of tourist,” he said. “Work is already underway to build a marina and a golf course and it is my belief that this project will not happen overnight. It appears that the new Mayor is doing a good job.

“The days of the eighties and nineties are gone. I have been in the village for quite a long time and have noticed that during those decades we got a lot of kids coming to the area. That caused problems because they weren’t bringing the right sort of business and let us not forget the serious issues of crime that was occurring because of them.”

But Avgousti believes government money is not being spent in the right way. “The CTO, in my opinion, have a lot to answer for because they are spending too much advertising Cyprus. How do they expect to pull tourists advertising on a network such as CNN? That money, which the CTO could also get from an EU grant, could be spent on upgrading the village.”

CTO Tourism Manager, Lefkos Fylaktidis claims that Ayia Napa has received a good amount of tourists, especially for the months of July and August, but that one of the aims is to make the seaside resort a year-round destination. He is also underlined the effort being made to change the image of Ayia Napa. “The municipality is slowly, slowly working towards bringing back families and older tourists not just for the summer period but for all the seasons,” he said. “The CTO is currently aiming to bring other types of tourists to the area such as locals from Nicosia and Limassol as well as people from Israel.”

Commenting on the youth scene in Ayia Napa, Fylaktides confirmed that the Municipality was in fact in league with the police to bring an end to the club and pub scene for youngsters. “For the last few years, there has been an effort underway to stamp out certain types of people visiting the area,” he said.

“During the years 2001 to 2003, Ayia Napa became notorious for its club scene and we had an influx of clubbing youths and people related to the garage scene. This, in turn, created problems because the families on holiday there were being driven out by the youths because they were rowdy, they would cause public affray and lots of noise. Pub crawling was also a massive problem because the youths would get very drunk and get into fights.”

But not everyone in Ayia Napa is in agreement with the new approach. Tony, one of the head entertainers at the popular Bedrock Pub close to the square, described the new facelift to Ayia Napa as a “disaster”, going as far to say that the Municipality in Ayia Napa is running amok with their new scheme.

“I have been here for around 15 years and I am still here to witness the destruction of Ayia Napa,” he said. “Everybody is scared to speak out against the Municipality and as a result they are doing what they want.”

Tony says the customers who he is paid to make sure have fun have been keeping Ayia Napa afloat all these years. “Napa is dying because they have got rid of the young people. Whether they like to know this or not, it is the drinkers that are the big money spenders. These are the people with the money.”

He also accused the Municipality of using connections with the police to lean down hard on the pubs as a way of ousting out their customers. “The police are now calling on all pubs to be shut by 1.30am,” he said. “Why? If I was on holiday with my wife and was having a laugh in a pub, I might not want to go to a club at 1.30am. I might wanna stay at the pub and drink. What the hell is the point of switching on the lights, turning off the music at 1.30am and telling the customers who are enjoying themselves ‘Get out, we’re closing!’”

He added, “The Ayia Napa board is trying to get what they want instead of what they can get. That is the biggest problem here.”

However, there is one issue that all business owners and employees agree on: their unhappiness with the recent influx of Israeli tourists to the area. Boutique shop owner Avgousti pinpointed the Israelis as being the worst tourists, along with the Swedes.

“They have never seem to spend any money. All the other nationalities, like the Finns, Danes, Norwegians and the British, are great. For example, I have seen Swedish women wandering the streets with football shorts or dresses. Where are there pockets? Where do they keep their money? They don’t even have money to buy a bottle of water. The same goes for the Israeli tourists. They have zero money!”

In rare agreement, Tony added, “All the good customers have now f****d off to Ibiza and we have been left with hardly anyone except Israelis! The place is swarming with Israelis and they don’t have any money. What are you gonna do with people like that?”

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