By Bejay Browne
PAPHOS will be formally presented with a gold quality award today, as one of the top 20 European destinations for sustainable tourism 2013.
The coastal town beat off competition from 1,000 applicants to be been chosen as one of only 20 winners in the European competition ‘Quality Coast’.
According to the manager of the Paphos regional board of tourism, Nassos Hadjigeorgiou, representatives from the International committee of ‘Quality Coast’ will present the award to the chairman of the Paphos regional board of tourism, George Leptos, as well as the other parties involved in the successful venture at an event to be held at 12.30 pm at the Annabelle hotel in Paphos today.
He said: “We are all very proud of this achievement and will continue to do everything we can to ensure Paphos’ position as a quality destination.”
Hadjigeorgiou pointed out that the Quality Coast awards commenced in 2009 and are presented to coastal municipalities and tourism organisations which share the same values and implement practices for the management of coastal areas, improving policies concerning the protection of the coastal environment, cultural heritage and social structures.
Paphos’ success at the awards has been welcomed by all of the parties concerned which were involved with both the preparation and submission of the Paphos application. These include the Paphos regional board of tourism, along with the municipalities of Paphos, yeroskipou, Peyia, Polis Chrysochous and the community boards of Chlorakas, Kissonerga, Neo Chorio. The Cyprus Hotels Association was also involved.
“This is the first collective nomination submitted to ‘quality coast’, and the collaboration made all the difference. The gold medal underlines not only the importance of cooperation between local authorities but also the desire and commitment to promote a more sustainable model of coastal development,” Hadjigeorgiou said.
Paphos was marked on the categories of nature, environment and identity and culture- for which it received the highest score- host community and safety.
It is now included in the list of quality coastal destinations of Europe and gets promoted as a destination which ensures that the environment remains clean. It also follows practices for the protection and promotion of local identity and cultural heritage. “Paphos is a quality destination where visitors can combine a relaxing, but also safe holiday, complete with tradition and culture, nature and clean seas,” said Hadjigeorgiou.
The ‘quality coast’ website says that Paphos has become more than just a sun and beach holiday destination. It adds that the implementation of a sustainable tourism strategy has contributed to diversify tourism products and reduces the effects of seasonality in a substantial manner. It continues that -apart from its ancient ruins, monuments and archeological sites, this region provides a great array of activities such as bird watching, climbing, walking trails, adventure sports, festivals, wine tours and guided excursions to rural areas and traditional villages.
It does point out however, that despite numerous plus points Paphos should make stronger efforts in order to improve the accessibility to the key tourist attraction sites for people with special needs.