By Evie Andreou
THE picture is far from perfect at the Kalymnos camping site near Governor’s beach since mismanagement has led to a chaotic situation and could face having its licence revoked by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO).
For Hermes Solomon who has his caravan parked there and pays an annual rent, all problems come from the mismanagement of the place.
Solomon says that not a single rule issued by the campsite’s management is being applied, making the lives of the campsite’s tenants unbearable.
He says that there is no interest to supervise the campsite – the rule that all persons spending a night have to complete arrival/departure forms is never enforced, public peace hours are not kept, permanent or semi-permanent constructions have been erected, communal roads are blocked by boats and cars, the ablution facilities are filthy and smelly.
He added that on weekends, things become impossible with excessive visitors. “They invite half the island to all-night barbecues to the inconvenience of other tenants.”
Lefkos Fylaktides, CTO’s tourism manager, said that they were examining whether the property still fulfils the criteria of a camping site.
“One of the issues is the permanent squatters who have erected buildings with no permits. The campsite is for short-period stays. Some people live there for years, leaving not enough place for campers,” he said.
Fylaktides said that CTO licences are reviewed every two years, but in the case they believe that a licensed establishment does not fulfil the criteria, they don’t wait until their licence expires, they can revoke the licence before its expiration.
“The CTO acts within a framework, there are rules and regulations that must be followed, and we plan to do just that with the case of the campsite too. We are still examining the case,” Fylaktides said.
The Governor’s Beach (Kalymnos) campsite is one of six licensed camp sites on the island. It is open all year round and has a capacity for 360 tents and caravans.
The Pentakomo community council rents the campsite to the owner of the nearby Kalymnos restaurant who manages it. At present, 320 places are occupied, 25 per cent of which by retirees and other people who choose to leave their caravan permanently there and pay annual rent, which has been increased by 11 per cent, for which the campsite’s manager did not produce a satisfying explanation, according to Solomon.
The Troodos campsite had the same fate and was closed down in 2012 due to illegal constructions that raised safety concerns.
The Interior ministry had intervened and had asked the permanent campers that had erected permanent buildings to evacuate the site. A large number refused to do so and they were threatened with legal action.
The campsite was scheduled to re-open this summer, after a costly clean-up.