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Our View: Why does every village have to be a tourist attraction?

perdios new
Deputy minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios.

Every few months the deputy ministry for tourism comes up with a new or recycled old idea. The latest, announced on Wednesday after the council of ministers, meeting was the revival of the countryside, mountain areas as well as remote parts of the country.

Deputy minister for tourism, Savvas Perdios, said the cabinet approved a plan for the revival these areas, through the creation of authentic experiences, but also through the aesthetic upgrading of villages. The programme is part of the ‘Cyprus Tomorrow’ initiative funded by the EU Recovery and Resilience and is worth €5 million, of which €2 million would be spent this year.

For eligibility applicants would have to join either the ‘Heartland of Legends’ which is described as an “authentic journey of experiences” or the ‘Colourful Villages,’ a “pact of quality” by the deputy ministry. The ‘Heartland of Legends’, Perdios explained, wanted to help businesses create life experiences in gastronomy, wine, art, handicrafts and traditional products. As for the ‘Colourful Villages’, it aimed at the aesthetic upgrading of villages through the planting of flowers, removal of advertising signs and replacement of the plastic chairs and table at coffeeshop.

“It is the first time in Cyprus that something is being done that would give a big push to the creation of authentic experiences, but also the aesthetic upgrading of our villages,” said Perdios, who explained that “just building and having pretty stones and pretty paved streets is not enough.”

Noble sentiments expressed by the minister, but his theory that every village of Cyprus should be homogenised through the aesthetic upgrading dictated by the deputy ministry is misguided. Authentic experiences are not garnered from visiting picture-book villages; sometimes a ramshackle, ugly village could provide a much more authentic and unique experience to visitors, because it is real.

Why is the deputy ministry working towards the objective of making every village in Cyprus a tourist attraction? Perhaps people living in remote areas or the mountains want to be left in peace; such places could be attractive to locals or day-trippers because they do not cater for tourists, but for a few people that want an authentic village experience.

The assumption of the deputy ministry, that every village must be given incentives to make money out of tourism is not just mistaken it is harmful as it wants to make every corner of Cyprus attractive to tourists. Yet the most tranquil and peaceful parts of the countryside and the mountains are those that attract very few, if any, visitors. Such places are becoming endangered by the deputy ministry’s aesthetic upgrading plans and ‘colourful villages’ initiative.

 

 

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