In short the answer to this question soley depends on who you are. If you are a young English clubber, then Cyprus is at present the place to be. It costs practically nothing to go on a package holiday to Cyprus. Agia Nappa is one of the most famous clubbing areas in Europe at the moment, and is full of youngsters who have gone over for practically nothing to get very drunk every night and go clubbing. These people barely know where they are, and do not appreciate the country for what it really is. It has beautiful landscapes and is great for walks and camping. The mountainous areas of Troodos and Platres are ideal for a holiday in the summer. There are great nature paths taking you through the forests or the mountains. For ‘good’ tourists, the country is perfect for sight seeing as there are many ancient sites such as the Kourion and the ancient shrine of Athene in Paphos.
The somber truth about this country is that it is at the mercy of the many tourists visiting it each year, and as a result of this many traditions have been forgotten. The main source of income for Cyprus is now tourism, whereas before agriculture and farming were. Many farmers have been forced to quit farming, which had been in their families for decades, and replace their fields with supermarkets and cheap cafï¿½s. Upon visiting one of the numerous tourist restaurants in Paphos, I found out what the owner thought of the current situation. When he had brought me my food, dressed in what was presumed to be a traditional Cypriot costume, we started speaking. He explained to me that he was a refugee from the 1974 illegal invasion of Cyprus by Turkey; his village and land had been taken by the Turkish invaders. He had no qualifications and was forced to open a restaurant. He explained to me with some bitterness that he had to, as he put it, dress up ridiculously for the tourists’ enjoyment. He was not happy about what he was doing but he had to do it in order to nourish his family.
The North of Cyprus was where Cyprus’s best agriculture was, the wheat was grown in the Mesaoria Plain and the oranges were grown in Morphou. However, the North of Cyprus is now illegally occupied by Turkey, and after the invasion Cyprus had to find something else from which to earn money. This is where tourism comes in. There were already a number of tourists entering the country each year before the invasion, and the government decided that there main source of income would have to be tourism whether they liked it or not.
Cyprus is the only country in Europe that is occupied by a foreign country. Yet most of the tourists visiting the country each year do not know this and have a nice holiday, completely oblivious to the fact that they are near the Green Line which separates the occupied from the free. It should be noted that the Cypriots themselves make Cyprus look like one big party, and do not apppear eager to inform any visitors that nearly half of their island is occupied and in a way seem to ignore this fact as much as the tourists. National pride is not as strong in Cyprus as it used to be and most Cypriots seem to have given up.
Many Cypriots have had to abandon the traditional way of life and enter into the currently booming tourist business in order to make enough money to live. Cypriots have always had a relatively high standard of living and most want to keep it that way. Many of the beautiful parts of the country have been taken over by clubs and restaurants, and slowly but surely the brilliant scenery of Cyprus will be drowned in flashing fluorescent lights and huge hotels. And for the future there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel as far as the beauty of Cyprus is concerned. As long as tourism is what the government rely on for income they will allow it to expand. There are currently no laws restricting the building of hotels, restaurants and clubs, apart from in nature reserves. Therefore there are hotels everywhere you turn and they are built very close to the seaside.
That is not to say that tourism is completely ruining the country, after all it is the reason that the Cypriot economy is currently so strong. The country has improved greatly in the past 30 years. Roads and motorways have improved and Cyprus is no longer far behind the West technologically speaking. Due to the currently booming economy, health and education has greatly improved from what it was.
There is however a problem with tourism as after a while, people get bored and find a different place that will be ‘flavour of the month’. Cyprus is it at the moment, but what will happen when the number of tourists entering the country each year starts to go down? The Cypriot government has decided to ignore this little problem and is allowing a lot of the agricultural areas to be torn down in order to make way for more tourist attractions.
The government is also short sighted in another way in that most tourists go to Cyprus on package tours and spend very little additional money once on the island. This sort of ‘bad’ tourism discourages ‘good’ tourists who can afford to go to Cyprus and spend money, as the island’s beauty will have been destroyed. Therefore the tourists who could afford to spend a substantial amount of money on the island, are discouraged by the ‘bad’ tourism. Cyprus currently has hardly anything to fall back on in case of a future fall in the amount of tourists entering the country, and when that happens, the Cypriot economy could crash and burn very quickly.