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Watersports operators take protest to ministries

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Watersports operators staged a protest outside the finance and interior ministries on Monday calling for more government support.

According to watersports association president Demetris Hadjidemetriou the demonstration was held as a reaction to “the repeated indifference shown by the government to water sports businesses all over Cyprus.

“Like many other businesses, we have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but, unlike them, we have not been given a helping hand,” Hadjidemetriou told Cyprus Mail.

“On the contrary, we are been hit beyond measure, both financially and at an operational level.”

Hadjidemetriou said the protest was staged outside the finance and interior ministries as water sports operators demand a response from both.

“Watersports businesses pay an 18 per cent VAT, whereas other similar businesses, like cruise companies, yacht rental companies and diving schools only pay 9 per cent.

“Not only that, during the past difficult months, they paid reduced VAT of 5 per cent, a huge financial help that, for some unknown reason, we haven’t been given,” he said.

On the other hand, Hadjidemetriou said the protest of front of the interior ministry is aimed at municipalities, “which act of their own accord and without any consideration for the Beach Protection Law.”

The Beach Protection Law in Cyprus sets the legal framework on what kind of interventions are allowed or not, what are the responsibilities of the competent authorities and what is the penalty for non-compliance.

“We are in full compliance with the law, we follow it strictly,” said Hadjidemetriou. “However, we noticed municipalities don’t act in the same way as us.

“Our businesses are being pushed out to remote locations on the sea, rocky beaches that are both extremely unsafe and very uncomfortable for our potential customers.

“We cannot survive when we are not close to beachgoers, we need to be where they are, municipalities are practically killing our businesses.”

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