2023 was a good year for the coastal city with massive promotion and renovation projects

Larnaca’s tourism development company Etap has just completed a very busy year boosting what the city can offer to visitors and residents alike.

In collaboration with local authorities and governmental agencies, Etap spent 2023 upgrading the town’s beaches, strengthening the allure of the district’s villages and restoring and upgrading public infrastructures, such as roads and parking areas.

It paid special attention to the coast by extending its programme “Enriching and Greening the Beaches of Larnaca”, for the sixth consecutive year.

Noteworthy projects included the completion of a callisthenics park at Kastella beach, the establishment of a beach soccer court in Voroklini and the setting up of two outdoor gyms along the coast in Pyla and in Livadia.

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Kastella beach

Additionally, projects were undertaken to ensure accessible beach entry for people with disabilities at Yanathes beach, also in Voroklini, while amphorae were placed at the Elpida shipwreck site to enhance the Larnaca Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Meanwhile, palm trees were planted along the coastal promenade in Voroklini and at the kitesurfing beach in Kiti.

“The completed and ongoing projects carried out in Larnaca are all aimed at contributing to the district’s goals to increase the number of visitors, local and foreign,” said Etap Larnaca president Dinos Lefkaritis.

“Coastal projects are vital to improve and sometimes transform the face of Larnaca.”

To that end, he underlined the added significance of the improvements to Larnaca’s MPA.

“All this contributes to the sustainable development of the protected marine area of Larnaca. We combined the support for the evolution of biodiversity in the reef while at the same time encouraged the option for our visitors,” he said.

Etap Larnaca also carried out several projects in the district’s villages to attract more visitors to areas not traditionally associated with tourism.

In an effort to reinforce the identity of small communities, Etap Larnaca transformed three children’s parks in Odou, Melini and Ora into “bee-friendly” spaces, a nod to the area’s penchant for producing honey.

feature jon melini bee park in larnaca's bee villages

Melini bee park in Larnaca’s bee villages

Moreover, thanks to the Christmas village initiative, Lefkara’s popularity skyrocketed during the typically ‘tourist drier’ winter months.

“The number of visitors we had over the Christmas period was astonishing, it surpassed all our expectations,” Lefkara’s community leader Sofoclis Sofocleous told the Cyprus Mail.

“The district of Larnaca greatly benefits from villages such as Lefkara, as it helps keep a constant flow of visitors, regardless of the season,” he said.

“It keeps the area alive, it keeps it interesting and ultimately that’s what Etap wants as well,” he said.

Apart from Lefkara’s growing popularity, the company also helped creating ‘Instagrammable’ spots in the quaint village of Ayios Theodoros and supported the efforts to enrich the collection and equipment of the Kallinikeon museum in Athienou and the fishing museum in Zygi, which, however, is yet to be completed.

feature jon lefkara lacemaking

Lefkara lacemaking

Digital tourism tools in Larnaca, meanwhile, continued to expand, with notable achievements such as the introduction of 3D virtual tours of the Holy Cross in Tochni and the Folklore museum in Kato Drys. With the help of the Larnaca municipality, Etap also installed map in several of the town’s most visited spots to navigate its “Storytelling Statues”, namely busts and monuments telling their story thanks to QR codes placed on them.

Etap Larnaca’s marketing programme also saw intensive efforts, including online campaigns pushed in countries normally not associated with Cyprus, and participation in international exhibitions.

The company also hosted journalists and travel agents from abroad, while continuously updating the Larnaca tourism portal and its social media channels.

feature jon callisthenics parks have been erected on some of the beaches

Callisthenics parks have been erected on some of the beaches

“Digital campaigns are vital to promote Larnaca and the wider district,” Lefkaritis said. “Etap is strong on digital marketing precisely because it is a vital tool to reach audiences that would not have the chance to hear or know about Larnaca otherwise.”

Lefkaritis also added that digital marketing is a strong point for the deputy tourism ministry, which considers online tourism tools and the strengthening of social media channels promoting Cyprus of very high importance.

And Larnaca was also a cleaner, tidier place in 2023. Etap carried out several numerous beach cleanups, held campaigns warning of the dangers of pollution, removed illegal advertising structures and banners on sidewalks, and revamped public spaces.

“We are very keen to keep all this going in 2024 and even do better,” Lefkaritis said. “Larnaca and the wider district is a gem, we need to make sure it keeps shining.”