Any social/cultural event that takes place in Cyprus attracts with it benefits to the town/location that it takes place. This is especially important for the beach towns which attract a lot of tourists (local and foreign) and it helps towards the elongation of the tourist season.
If we are to examine the Paphos opera event, the wine festival, the Cyprus Rally and even that of the Marathon events (next week with the expectation of 15.000 participants for Limassol and 10.000 for the Larnaca one) the first to benefit are the local hoteliers and the local service industry (restaurants/bars/Airbnb/short lets etc.).
In order to keep up to date with the Carnival most joyful event, the most successful one which takes place in Limassol, we report that (a superficial survey on our part mind you):
• Hotel bookings are nearing the 80% of their occupancy rate (as opposed to their ordinary 60%).
• The Limassol marina and the fishing port restaurants have experienced a 50% increase in their bookings during the festivities
• Car rentals have increased but not clearly evident (+20%)
• A notable upgrading of self-confidence and the creation of a family/friendship/ bonding through this fun period of enjoyment
In general, the town is on a festive mood, widely spread over to all aspects of life and for all pockets and a jovial behavior all around.
This carnival event is not a small one and based on previous statistics the Limassol Carnival is considered to be the 10th largest in the world, be it that the parade lucks behind the top ones that of Rio, Nightingale, Patra etc., both in volume and spirit. The expected parade participants will be approximately 10.000 (according to the organizers) and this with the attendants by 2-3 times more spectators are a big number to ignore.
Notwithstanding this event that takes place in Limassol, one wonders how this helps the real estate market. This event is a part of life for Limassol and with reference to the foreign investors who know little about Cyprus and even less the local towns it is a “free” advert. Limassol with its existing foreign (wealthy we add) community, the foreign schools and the existence of numerous facilities etc. has a lot going on for it (whereas the more recent developments, such as the Marina and now the Casino, the expected Fasouri golf course etc. are pluses for its future).
Limassol was not always like this regarding tourism and we remember the worthy beach Hotel Amathus, closed down prior to the year 1974, but following the invasion and the direction of tourists to Limassol it has revived as well as other hotels in general and the town.
The real estate boom that Limassol is experiencing, especially up to the recent “disaster” of the Passports/small politics issue, has caused real estate sales prices to increase at a level that the locals cannot afford (both in terms of sales prices and rents) with the locals being pushed away from the town center and the seaside area and moving now at the periphery of Limassol such as Kolossi, Erimi and at the east, Moni-Ayios Tychonas etc. Not a healthy situation for the locals, having to travel both for their work and children’s school. The sales prices (so far) for the seaside Limassol towers range from €10.000-€15.000/sq.m., whereas off the beach but near, are now at €7.000-€8.000/sq.m. Both are now expected to go down since demand has reduced dramatically since the Passports saga started. By projection, we expect, at this point of time at least, values will be starting to be reduced with an unpredictable reduction over the next 2-3 years. The town’s real estate popularity has a lot to do with the local cultural events, such as the wine festival, the constant folkloric gatherings, the Marathon and the activities that the Limassol’s Mayors at the time and the local Councils promote the town.
It is notable that ex Limassolians who now are living in other towns (primarily Nicosia) are yearning for a return (increasing demand) and the town, which has been blessed by successful recent Mayors and the Municipal Councils which act as one for the town’s benefit has a lot going for it.
For those of the older age must remember the 1960’s Carnival dancing events at Rialto and Yiordamli cinemas for the 15 day carnival period as an introduction to the carnival parade, whereas the young men’s serenades singing to their love ones during the evening was a unique experience at the time (regrettably not now – be it that we have recently used this approach to prop up a client of ours that “resides” at Nicosia’s private hospital (we brought along a guitarists/small carnival group at the hospital much to the upset of some of the doctors (Nicosia mind you) and enjoyment for others, upgrading the spirit of the patients.
It is notable that other towns adopt the carnival spirit, but without the emotion that the Limassol one has. Other towns such as Pafos, Paralimni and even the parade at the Aglantzia Municipality is an effort, but it is not the same. As Mr Lellos Demetriades, ex- Mayor of Nicosia for 20 continuous years when he was asked why Nicosia does not promote the same, he replied that “I want to do it, but I need the Limassolians people to attend”. A memorable statement and quite true.
All these events and with the support that they are given by the foreign community, have made the town more known and to the foreign investors in particular they wish to reside/do business not to the same extent in other locations. Our clients whom we suggest to stay in Nicosia at the Hilton hotel, so that they are close to our Office for our next day meeting, they object by saying that “I want to wake up and look at the sea and in any case it is only 40 minutes away”. Hence office rents in Limassol are now €20-€50/sq.m. and those of Nicosia at the top €15/sq.m. Similar rentals for apartments 2 bedroom are around €1.100 p.m. and in Nicosia €700/p.m. – let alone the villa rentals. In a very recent enquiry that we have had from an Israeli Co to rent a 5 bedroom villa for its staff we “pushed” the enquiry to our Nicosia office and the asking rental was €3.500 p.m., whereas for a similar property in Limassol the starting rental required was €7.000 p.m. They have opted for Limassol much to the dismay of our Nicosia office staff and to the joy of those of Limassol’s!!).
So, does the Carnival and the various other events pay? Definitely yes.