The Paphos region has been recognised for its efforts to support sustainable tourism and honoured with a top European Union (EU) prize.
The district has received the Gold Award for Quality Coast Policy and Sustainable Tourism Best Practices from the EU-endorsed Quality Coast programme.
“The coastline of Paphos, from Yeroskipou to Neo Chorio, has been recognised on a European level as being environmentally-friendly and reflective of a sustainable tourism destination,” Paphos Regional Board of Tourism (PRBT) director, Nassos Hadjigiorgiou told The Cyprus Weekly.
“It’s excellent for our marketing.”
The Quality Coast programme aims to establish a worldwide network of coastal communities that share similar values on sustainable development, nature and biodiversity, cultural heritage and identity, while maintaining high standards in the quality of their tourism.
Destinations are evaluated by experts on a range of interconnected criteria related to cleanliness, safety and how well beaches are equipped.
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This is the third consecutive year the Paphos Region has won the award. All municipalities and communities in the district submitted a single proposal coordinated by the Paphos Regional Board of Tourism (PRBT).
“Paphos got the award for features such as disposable ashtrays, wave breakers, lifeguard presence and policies related to pollution control,” Hadjigiorgiou said.
Seventeen beaches in the Paphos District have the much-coveted Blue Flag status indicating clean water.
In spite of receiving the accolade, Hadjigiorgiou said there was room for improvement.
Some beaches still need lifeguards or extended hours, he said, while maintaining coastal cleanliness has to be an ongoing effort.
Additionally, the sector needs to make more efforts to improve the accessibility to the key tourist attraction sites for people with special needs.
“The Golden Award and a place on the list of Europe’s most ‘green’ coastal and island regions, honours Paphos but, at the same time, commits stakeholders to sustaining and improving on practices.”