You must have realised dear readers that we have a soft spot for the mountain areas.
This government has tried to promote them and with the new Ministry of Tourism, the appointment of a commissioner for the development of mountain communities and the various infrastructural projects that have been announced and are under construction, the mountain villages should see some positive results.
The assistance to buy property in these areas for permanent residents and improved access, as well as the small-scale improvements within the villages, are also most positive.
After 42 years of operation, our office, is seeing for the first time a noticeable interest by locals to establish their houses and to a lesser extent small-scale businesses in such locations.
A lot of work must still be done towards this end:
- Affordable and better internet is needed. To connect a home in the mountain villages to the internet costs around €40. In our opinion it should either be free, at least for students who live there.
- The various events that many villages would have have now been cancelled (along with the subsidies for them) which is a major minus for promotion and tourist visitors.
- Christmas decorations could be a major attraction if a similar atmosphere is created like in countries such as Austria and Germany.
- There is potential for the promotion of Cypriot culture. Greece has numerous cultural associations and clubs promoting local dances and other traditional event and activities. Such groups should be given generous subsidies to set up events and even small salaries for those actively involved. Such festivities should also have subsidised bus travel provided for visitors to come from towns to attend.
- Forest fires are a major concern. It is not enough to be prepared to rush to put out a fire once it has started. Prevention is the best solution. For this we have suggested the employment of forest rangers.
- The ineptitude of local authorities is a problem. One example was the attempted yurt project in Platres. The ‘development’ began but was stopped after our efforts. Pine trees were cut down and rubbish and debris left behind. The local council told us the local environment would be restored, but a year-and-a-half later we have seen no progress.
The inefficiency of local councils and the central government results in all sorts of inaction.
- Heating is a major issue and though there are several subsidy schemes to help with the costs, this is not enough. We know of someone in Omodos who is paying €500 a month for heating. She is now leaving the place.
Permanent residents of the mountain areas are few in number and do not have the voting muscle to help improve the situation.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]