The since 8 years pending, proposed Famagusta region golf course, seems now that there is a chance of getting the go ahead (be it that it will take another 1-2 years to have the proposal prepared and the final decision to follow.
Much of the delay was caused by the developers themselves who originally submitted a proposal for a golf course only, but as the French say “eating brings up the appetite”, have changed their mind and they asked for housing development and hotel to go.
The Government has, admittedly, tried to help the golf original proposal, but it came up at the end with another obstacle to by-pass, the so called “passing route” of migrating birds. So that location was dropped.
Now a new area is found and it seems that there are no environmental issues, so let’s hope that it will go ahead at some time in the near future.
We are not particularly sympathetic by the change of minds of the developers, but we want to stand on what the wider benefits will be to the region with a local golf course in place.
Famagusta region host approximately 40% of the foreign tourist trade and approximately 50% of the locals, yet it has the shortest occupancy season, as compared to the more all over the year destinations such as Limassol and to a lesser extent Pafos.
End result is this 40% of the local hotels close down during the “winter” period of October to March, with hotel staff laid off and with financial losses to them, as well as the subsidiaries uses such as restaurants, excursions, entertainment, sports and so on.
Admittedly and to their credit, local Municipalities with the leader that of Ayia Napa, promote all sorts of attractions extending to various activities for the visitors to do during and off the tourist season. Easter events is one, the food festival is another, the upcoming period of the Medieval festival, the open air park sculptures and so on (whereas others are pending based on their published proposal, such as the seaside footpath, Potamos of Liopetri, the underwater sculpture park, the installation of security cameras in order to reduce crime (mainly from too much drink) and so on, whereas the pending amphitheatre and the ongoing football grounds success (see the young people’s event) is all the best.
The Famagusta region is the top choice in terms of having the favourite holiday home spot by the Nicosia residents and to a lesser extent by the foreign market. The latter with little “things to do” have almost abandoned the area, notwithstanding the best beaches in Cyprus (see off season places that are closed, giving an “abandoned” picture with the seasonal permanent residents being cats).
If a golf course is in place and being the most popular area of the Nicosia residents, the tourist season will extend and with it the enlarged income for those who choose to let (we can assure you that there is much demand) and the other benefits to go.
So now the region has a chance with the Ayia Napa marina and that of the under development Paralimni one, is a plus, as is the recent upgrading of the hotels and quality restaurants. The golf will extend the season of occupancy, reduce the redundancy pays of hotel staff in addition to idle labour which is soul destroying.
This is a region which has been the worst affected by the Turkish invasion and as we have said previously, to an extent, the local Municipalities are trying to finance and improve the quality of life of their own residents and visitors. The recent upsurge of foreign interest (see the Chinese hotel at Sotira, the improved beach at Ayia Thekla church which is becoming most popular for weddings, as are the small beach churches for christenings and weddings, much against the “environmentalists” objections), are facts in hand.
Demand is there, quality is there (see 15 days waiting for a booking for a hamburgers place located on the 5th floor of a hotel, the known sushi restaurant, the various Italian places and even the Mexican place at Ayia Napa (with 7 days waiting) and that of the Paralimni steak house 2-3 days waiting for a booking.
So that we do not paint an all rosy picture for the region, the region has serious infrastructural problems, such as the local taxi mafia and the irregular bus service which do not allow residents/tourists in the Paralimni region, whose demand is mainly for families to visit the Ayia Napa one (for the younger at hart). Then we have the provocative illegalities by some of the Municipalities (mainly Paralimni) such as the so called kiosks in front of beach houses which have become grill bars without a permit and with the Government not having the authority to intervene.
The “coumbaros” relationship and local votes help towards this state of affairs and we even have beach containers which have been converted into “houses” to let, the lack of local policing and of course the endless noise nuisance.
As Winston Churchill said “we have a democratic system which is not good, but until we find a better one, it is here to stay”. Local Government democracy in this region leaves a lot to be desired however.