articles | 10 August 2022

‘Noise pollution endangers entire Cypriot tourism sector’

The Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (Stek) on Tuesday called on the state to intervene so that the issue of noise pollution in tourist areas is quelled, alleging that Cyprus’ tourist product is in immediate danger.

“The problem with the noise pollution created by bars and restaurants, but not exclusively from them, has gotten out of control and now the very future of Cypriot tourism is at stake,” the association said in a statement.

“We have warned dozens of times about this specific issue in recent years, with the last time being May of the current year during a session of the parliamentary committee responsible for internal affairs,” Stek added.

At the time, Stek said that it was necessary to make amendments to the relevant legislation on noise pollution so that it can be better applied and allow stricter checks in recreational venues.

Moreover, the association said that there should not be any “half measures or postponements” and urged the authorities to “finally assume their responsibilities”.

In their most recent statement, Stek said that “unfortunately, this significant and major problem continues to be perpetuated, since the required bold decisions by the executive and legislative powers, as well as the local government, are not taken to combat it”.

The association explained that hotels and other tourist accommodation units have been struggling to survive over the past few years, having had to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak and, most recently, with the loss of the Russian tourism market following the war in Ukraine.

Noise pollution, the association noted, endangers the hard-won recovery the sector is trying to achieve.

“We realise that noise pollution creates temporary profits for some businesses but the damage created to our tourism product is many times over and will have a long-term negative impact for everyone,” Stek said, noting that “in Cyprus, we know firsthand that if your reputation gets damaged, there is very little you can do afterwards”.

“As hoteliers, we receive on a daily basis the severe complaints of tourists and travel agents and we are very much afraid that this particular problem will soon be the main culprit for the loss of tourist flows to our country,” the association added.

Furthermore, Stek said that it is imperative that President Anastasiades immediately convenes an emergency meeting with all the relevant authorities, including the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and local government officials, so that a solution is found before the issue escalates further.

“Dissatisfied tourists leave Cyprus every day and the damage they do to the country’s image in terms of its tourism product is enormous,” the association said.

“It is sad that at a time when efforts are being made to upgrade the quality of Cyprus’ tourist product, which coincides with other competing destinations focusing their efforts on sustainable tourism development, we in Cyprus remain vulnerable because we cannot put an end to the promiscuous use of loud sound systems,” the association’s statement concluded.

The issue of noise pollution was also mentioned by Stek president Akis Vavlitis during an interview with the Cyprus News Agency.

“So many efforts are being made by everyone to attract tourism to Cyprus, and there are some people, who think themselves as the smart one of the bunch, who are destroying what is built with great effort and struggle by all tourism industry stakeholders”, Vavlitis said.

He added that hoteliers are the “weakest link in the tourist supply chain” since they do most of the effort to sign deals with tourist operators to bring tourists to Cyprus while “the rest capitalise on these efforts”, in reference to other businesses who primarily deal with tourists.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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