By Bejay Browne
RESTAURANT owners in Latsi near Polis Chrysochous have teamed up with the local municipality to create the first fish festival this weekend, in a bid to help boost tourism in the area. Organisers say they hope it will become a regular annual event.
Seven or so restaurants situated on the picturesque Latsi harbour will serve free, locally caught fish, along with free drinks to members of the public on Saturday.
Costas Kremidas, owner of the Nicandros Fish Tavern and Steakhouse, said he is taking part in the event to try and increase ailing visitor numbers to the area.
Kremidas, who started his business in 2007, said that with the exception of 2008, tourism in Latsi and Polis has been declining in recent years, and pointed out that the Cypriot market has all but dried up.
“We used to have many Cypriots visiting Latsi harbour and eating in the restaurants here, they came regularly. But since the problems with the banks and the economy, they have almost disappeared,” he said.
Latsi harbour was a favoured destination with Nicosians looking for a weekend break, but Kremidas noted that once rising petrol costs are factored into a vacationer’s budget, it becomes an expensive place to travel too.
“It costs at least 50 euros in petrol money to get here from Nicosia,” he said. “In the current climate, that’s a lot of money.”
However, the restaurateur remains positive that with the proper initiatives, people will again chose to visit Latsi, as it’s one of the most beautiful areas on the island.
According to Kremidas, the municipality is providing the restaurants with seasonal fish, freshly caught by local fishermen, which the chefs will then cook. The restaurants in the harbour have outside tables and seating and they will serve the complimentary food, salad and drink on Saturday afternoon from 1pm to 4pm.
“We need more events like this to try and help encourage people to Latsi, we have no idea how many people will come, but we hope it’s a significant amount.”
A spokesperson for Polis Municipality said: “We want to help promote the area as a quality destination, and this event will highlight Latsi harbour which is a lovely area. There will also be traditional live music and a kid’s corner.”
Local tourist accommodation in the area is also being offered at discount rates right through the Easter period.
She added: “This is a positive move and we hope to welcome at least 2,000 people to the event.”