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Camping sites for tourists

yurts online

The Deputy Ministry of Tourism talks about upgrading the quality of our tourism product, the local hotels and recreational places, both in terms of the buildings and facilities and the service provided. This same deputy ministry is now encouraging the development of organised camping sites within ‘non-habitable areas’.

The proposal indicates that the camps are to be set up in wooded areas.

There are a number of limitations and requirements, including the existence of a sewage system, electricity and other public services, as well as parking. The camps are to be fenced all around and have a security gate.

We have noted the fashion of yurts (Mongolian style tents) popping up here and there in previous articles. It is a fact that some people opt for adventure holidays, and in other countries these are set up ‘in the middle of nowhere’. With an internet search we discovered such projects in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Jordan and so on.

Cyprus has always had aproblem of make-shift ‘accommodation’ all over the place, such as at Governor’s beach, the Troodos square, Trooditissa Monastery and to a lesser extent in the beach localities – very noticeable in the Polis area, near Latchi. These ‘camp sites’ are developed in a haphazard manner and are often an eyesore. They are also usually illegal, but this being Cyprus are not removed.

If the aforementioned project goes ahead people will use this to make such sites even more common. The restrictions will be followed very loosely, if at all, and pressure groups and others will use our MPs to push for their relaxation and all types of abuse will occur.

And where do you think these ‘tousist camp sites’ will be located? Most likely in the mountain areas – Troodos, Pissouri, Lofou and so on – and ecological destruction will follow. Akamas is probably the most at risk from this project.

Camping in Cyprus is mostly used by yound people, who take the opportunity to party at all hours. It is easy to see how a bush fire might start.

When browsing facilities like this online one sees beautiful igloo style tents and others, and sites where rules and nature are respected. Given the mentality in Cyprus, this is unlikely to be the case here. Importantly, in other places, these are isolated projects in remote and vast areas of wilderness, taking up a fraction of land. In densely developed Cyprus, where we have so little wild left, this idea is not suitable.

If it is going to happen there really must be strict adherance to rules and we would recommend at least these additional requirements:

  • Minimum site area 130,000 sq m
  • Upkeep of existing vegetation, plus planting new trees of at least 4m height of the type already existing at the location under the supervision of the forestry department. Annual permits for the camps should not be renewed if the trees are not looked after
  • A fire protection crew present at all times
  • Operators should have a bank guarantee for €100.000 at least in order to cover destruction of trees and the environment in the case of fire or otherwise
  • Private security in place with one person per 10 tents at all hours

Are we exaggerating about how this will go? We’re afraid not.

There was an attempt to build five yurts in Platres, which we protested. The project was then abandoned. The pine trees that were cut down were never replaced and the area was left litered with debris, which is still there a year later.

We understand that these sorts of ideas are desperate attempts to revive tourism and change our image but this is not the right way to go about it. There are so many other things our island has to offer.

Our only hope is that these ideas will not be carried out because they are not financially viable. Though who knows what else they will come up with in the future.

 

Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]

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