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The Republic of Cyprus
Tourism in the Republic of Cyprus, according to the World Tourism Organization’s overview, is the leading growth sector in the economy of Cyprus since 1980 and now constitutes the backbone of the Cyprus economy. The historic way passed by Cyprus left its mark in the form of a breathtaking combination of the old and new. Cyprus is a valuable destination for a tourist because of Venetian walls of Nicosia, panoramic view, Kyrenia Mountains, Famagusta Gate, Limassol, and Larnaca attractions and museums; all these is only the beginning of the Cyprus showplaces.
Speaking about the activities provided in Cyprus, due to its territory, Cyprus has great facilities and uses them correctly. Snorkeling is available almost in any place near the sea. If a person has not dived before, the professional stuff can teach one for a few days and then, if needed, accompany one to make the diving save. The places of diving vary. It may be an old sunken boat, cargo ship, fish farm, or extreme diving. All the equipment is given for rent. It is a very common activity in Cyprus. As for the water activities, some of the popular ones are windsurfing, catamarans, kayaks, parasailing behind a boat, jet skis, and promenade on the glass-bottom boat. Such sort of attractions is competitive as not all the world resorts can display a wide range of water activities. Rest on Cyprus is available almost for everyone. If a person does not like heat, he/she can go to Troodos Mountains as the climate there is mild but still warm. Mount Olympus and waterfalls Caledonia and Milomeris are popular tourist sights. One of the most favorite tourist sights is Aya Napa often called “the second Ibiza”. Aya Napa is famous for its waterslides, it is one of the biggest in Europe. Religious tourism is developed in Kykkos Monastery, where the icon of St.Luke was painted. Popular destinations in Cyprus are amphitheater in Limassol, mosaics in Paphos and its antiquity, Aphrodite Bath, Aquarium. Acropolis and Odeon which are some of the most popular sights in Cyprus are partly reconstructed from the 2nd century. Nowadays, Odeon is still one of the largest performance grounds in Cyprus. The island is full of sights that deserve to be visited; 3 objects are included in the UNESCO’s list of cultural heritage, and 12 more are to be added to this list. The antiquity and entertainment formed the tourist sights of Cyprus.
According to the Tourism Plan of Cyprus 2003-2010, the authorities understand that the tendencies in the tourism sphere are getting more sophisticated and fastidious. The new strategic plan is oriented at implementing all the changes into the tourism sector, providing high-quality service to the foreigners and comfort for the residents. Analyzing the contemporary planning for the development of tourism in Cyprus, one can make the conclusion that tourism in Cyprus is rather calm and relaxing, with an emphasis on the beautiful historical land and architecture of old towns, water procedures, and subtropical climate.
However, as modern tourists are more demanding because of their education, self-development, and external influence, they want precise activities and are hard to impress. The problems include classic tourism or standardization, the lack of dynamic approach, seasonality, the probability to lose cultural identity. Standardization means that almost all the facilities available in Cyprus are classic; every resort provides a tour on sights, rest at the sea, hotel’s service, and cafes. There should be something unique and indispensable to encourage people to choose Cyprus for spending their holidays there. The lack of dynamic approach shows that such type of tourism is not as flexible as it should be. It is a perfect destination for family rest, but not for a young world explorer. Seasonality means that this kind of resort is attractive in a particular time of the year more than at another, what is non-profitable for the economy of Cyprus as the tourism sector provides 80% of Republic capital. Speaking about the cultural identity, there is a great probability to lose it in case of straight orientation on tourism; tourism should open something new to the travelers, but not to mix parts of each culture in order to gain money. The individuality of each country is one of the main reasons for tourism existence.
Impact of Tourism
The economic impact of tourism in Cyprus is very essential. Tourism is the sphere that “feeds” the whole republic. The economic situation in Cyprus had been free most of the time up to 2013. According to the Index of Economic Freedom calculations, Cyprus is 41st in the list of European countries with economic freedom. A major economic crisis hit Cyprus in 2013. In March 2013, a €10 billion EU bailout plan centered on bank restructuring. After this event, the monetary, investment, and banking freedom was limited, which influenced the desire to visit Cyprus. As the financial situation in the country remains unstable after the banking collapse, people consider it dangerous and come to Cyprus less willingly.
Social impact of tourism in Cyprus is connected with an economic one. After the crisis, in 2013, the number of restrictions related to entrepreneurship rose, a lot of companies became dependent on foreign investment, and a lot of people lost their jobs. However, tourism is an indispensable sector in Cyprus, because it gives working places and the field to start a new business. Tourism influences social relations between people shares the cultures and complements the national culture by bringing new ideas and fashion. Tourism in Cyprus helps people to easily communicate with the representatives of all nations and enrich their own culture.
The political situation in Cyprus is complicated. This island is “separated” in Turkish-Cypriot of the northern part of Cyprus and Greek-Cypriot region. As a consequence, different contradictions took place in the Republic of Cyprus. After the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the Gulf conflict in 1991, the island faced a lot of problems with the tourism department. The history shows that politically unstable period provokes bad attitude of the tourists to the country, and the country loses a great part of investments. The political situation in Cyprus needs reappraisal because it can influence also Greece and Turkey. Political stability attracts tourists.
Nowadays, the government of Cyprus is working to contribute to the adaptation of the market to the environmental needs. As tourism is an essential part of the island’s life, the plan implies that business-oriented on tourism should not harm the environment as the climate also attracts tourists. Subtropical climate gives an opportunity to establish sunbathing resorts near the sea and gain profit out of it. The environment is the basis of tourism in Cyprus. A lot of people want to rest somewhere in the warm exotic places Cyprus is one of them.
The proper tourism planning for Cyprus is needed because of the problems available nowadays in the republic. In order not to harm the tourism sector, there should be a precise plan to understand what the island wants to achieve, pay attention to, and advance in. Tourism planning is needed also to take care of the locals, whose workplaces depend on the tourists flow; the plan would give an opportunity to organize the financing.
The Tourism Planning
Speaking about the tourism planning in Cyprus, it is needed to say that contemporary plan is available for the period from 2003 to 2010. The plan includes both positive and negative previous experience of Cyprus in the past years. This plan states that Cyprus lacks various interests and quests for the tourists; the main goal is the achievement of sustainable development of tourism in correlation with the other sectors such as economic, social, environmental, and cultural. Things that need to be revised according to the plan are the improvement of the various tourism branches including religious, natural, cultural, sport, and hobby tourism as well as improvement of the hotel service. Also, the plan pays attention to the control of the entrepreneurship quality in order not to damage the whole system. The plan consists of a few strategies for improving sports tourism, agro-tourism in rural areas, the adoption of environment-friendly tourism, creating high-quality hotels and tourist villages, modernizing the available hotels, and improving bicycle lanes. High priority is given to the enhancement of ports and harbors and managing service in bars and restaurants.
The Quality/Value-Added Strategy is recommended to gain more money for better service. It is oriented to satisfy the customers and even make them come back for further rest. This strategy is applicable because it includes a lot of marketing aspects that take into account the desires of the clients, all the improvements marked with the phrase “high quality” or “high level”, infrastructure, transport and all the facilities directed on the improvement for the tourism. It is well-planned, and in case of good implementation, it is worth of capital the Cyprus Tourism Organization wants to earn.
Speaking about the plan of improvement, it is perfectly written. Even the relationships between locals and tourists are mentioned, and locals are treated as well as tourists. The idea of the elevation of the quality level is good because people deserve to pay for the best service, best emotions, and best of what Cyprus can provide. Three branches of intervention are quality, human resources, and prices. The disadvantage of this plan is that the possible control of the private business is hard to implement, and if the Government wants entrepreneurs to work in cooperation, a lot of simplifications in the banking system or in taxing may be needed. The plan is effective, but a lot of money and service is needed to improve it the way it is recorded in the plan. From my point of view, the thing that could be done differently is the emphasis on a lot of directions at the same time. I believe that the emphasis on something unique, something that is inherent only to Cyprus can be more effective; there should be one distinct and bright feature for people to choose this resort. The variety of attractions and services is good, but there should be something unique to attract attention.
Cyprus towards Sustainability
There are different ways for Cyprus to become a successful tourism center. From my point of view, the first thing is to enlarge the activity complex; the plan clarifies the list of activities from the water sport to religious tourism. However, it would be good to provide special places for extreme sports, maybe open aqua parks for extreme fans; in addition to smart advertising, it would be the visit card for Cyprus. The other way is to present a special set of exotic restaurants all over the republic. The original thing about it would be that each restaurant would be dedicated to historical events or authentic Cypriot values.
The other strategy should be oriented on stabilization of the political and economic situation in the republic. The contradictions between Turkish and Greek parts and the banking crisis deter the tourists from coming to Cyprus and slow the tourism development. Lying on the beach in the safe the country is more attractive than when your credit card can be blocked or cause a problem.
The third strategy, in my opinion, should include the local residents too, because they are the major element of communication with tourists; they provide their help and services on an instant basis. Cyprus is a touristic land at most; however, people should not forget about the local people and tourism should not be treated higher than the development of the economy or education. Tourism is a tool that helps to enrich social spheres. Tourism sphere should involve a lot of citizens to lessen the unemployment rate. Also, tourists should be conscious and not to break the laws of the Republic, respect people and ecological values. From my point of view, by combining these three strategies, Cyprus is able to become a touristic resort of the first class.
At present, the island hosts more than two million tourists every year 90% of whom originate from the European countries; foreign exchange income amounts to approximately US$1,9 billion, which represents a contribution of approximately 20% to the island’s GDP. According to the report of World Travel and Tourism Council, The total impact of the industry means that, in 2011, it contributed 9% of global GDP, or value of over US$6 trillion, and accounted for 255 million jobs. It is expected for the tourism in Cyprus in the next decade to grow at 4% annually as the situation began to stabilize; also, foreign investments can rise. The rise of tourist spending is beneficial for Cyprus’ economy because it lessens the economic recession.
As Cyprus has started to reform its tourism system, use its experience, and control the rates of unemployment, the financial situation got better as compared to 2010. Thus, one can make a conclusion that in the future decade, the rise of tourism in Cyprus and financial stability will be achieved only if the rank of corrections and quality strategy are implemented. The total financial situation is better than in 2010 and 2013, but the other countries-competitors are often more demandable than Cyprus. The popularization of Cyprus and stability in the republic and its economy are the first steps to lift Cyprus on a completely new level.
Cyprus versus Sardinia
Let’s contrast the Sardinia and Cyprus. From the first sight, they are pretty alike, as both are famous for their beaches, and the climate is the same, large islands. However, still, there are differences in their strategies for tourism. Tourism in Cyprus is calm and more suitable for families. Because of political contradictions, a lot of people prefer it to other resorts. Speaking about Sardinia, two factors that influenced the present situation are the improvement of transporting ways in the 1960s and government support and investment which made it attractive to foreign businessmen. In Sardinia, agriculture is the main profit sector, while in Cyprus, it is tourism and historic heritage. There is more to see in Cyprus than in Sardinia; the wealthy history of Cyprus makes it an interesting destination when the activities in Sardinia are often eco-tourism or sea tourism. Sardinian government has created the program for tourism development. The program is divided into four specific sectors: energy, cultural and natural heritage, urban development, and the economic competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises. Compared to Sardinia, the strategy of Cyprus is oriented on quality, human resources, and price.
To conclude, Cyprus is a place of harmony and rest, a lot of tourists have already estimated it. The Republic of Cyprus has experienced rise and fall, banking crisis, political argues, but now, people can observe a strong Republic with developed tourism attractions.