This is the vision of Ayia Napa mayor Yiannis Karousos: to turn the town by 2030 into a new Monte Carlo. And what he means by that is to establish Napa as one of the “most cosmopolitan tourist resorts of the Mediterranean.” This is why he has been on a campaign to declare that we must reject the “low-quality young tourists” who, as he says, cause trouble with their behaviour and create bad impressions.
Put simply, they defame this resort town paradise. To avoid any misunderstandings, I want to be absolutely clear that I’m not against improving the quality of the area or the goals set by the mayor in order to attract quality tourism.
But the problem lies elsewhere. In order to achieve these goals and do some careful and strategic planning, the real perpetrator has to be identified because a crime has been committed in the area. This offence has been going on for years in order to serve special interests and make profits at the expense of natural beauty. This basically provides a lifeline to our nouveau riche attitude so that we can prove every day that we are ready to sacrifice even our most beautiful parts of the country for money.
So if we want to move forward, based on the vision offered by Mr. Karousos, we cannot simply go after the so-called low-quality tourists and believe that they are the ones who give Ayia Napa a bad name.
We left Ayia Napa defenceless towards our ignorant ways and bad taste while maximising profits became our top priority
Actually, far from it, we bear witness to what is happening on a daily basis and who is the culprit here, which is none other than state administrators and local “chiefs” with their pretentious ways, lack of respect for the environment, and their greed, all of which have contributed to the destruction of one of the most beautiful parts of Cyprus.
There was never a single provision that would put restrictions on construction anarchy and impunity while there was also never any serious planning designed specifically to protect the area from monstrosities that pop up like mushrooms and so many other things with bad taste that cause cultural repugnance to any visitor.
On the contrary, we were boasting that Ayia Napa was the new Ibiza. Essentially we were allowing, on one hand, the underworld to take over and define the character of the whole area, and on the other hand, the special big interests to profit at the expense not only of natural beauty but also quality. And all these are nothing but the fallout of our own attitude which can be summed up easily as utterly pretentious, our greed and mainly a complete absence of education and culture.
So if Mr. Karousos has the real intent on changing the image and character of Ayia Napa, it is not enough to keep out low quality tourists, or invest in the construction of a marina, or even attract investments for large projects.
What is most important above all is to make a simple admission: that those who managed to keep quality tourism away from Ayia Napa are, in fact, ourselves, by destroying anything beautiful that the area had to offer and failing, to this day, to coordinate development in harmony with the natural environment.
On the contrary, we left it defenceless towards our ignorant ways and bad taste as we made maximisation of profits our top priority.
And to be very candid here, the Ayia Napa with its “personality” today is only capable of getting low quality tourists or nouveau rich and uneducated wealthy types, all of whom cannot tell the difference between something with quality and without. Because genuine quality tourism needs a clear mandate that puts economic development in harmony with the natural environment. And this is something that Ayia Napa can achieve only if we start from scratch.