Visitors to sunny Cyprus during August were up again, reaching well over half a million! Fantastic figures coinciding with World Tourist Day, and promoting a 4-year plan for future transport sustainability to develop the electric car network in Limassol, and throughout the island.
There were more than 523,650 arrivals to Cyprus, compared to 458,600 in August 2016 and 392,200 in 2015, according to the Cyprus Statistical Service. More than 1 in 7 now stay in Limassol throughout the year.
We like to think that the bustling spirit of the ancient trade centre of Lemesos – as Limassol was once called – continues to play its part in attracting a record number of cultural explorers, from the UK, Germany and Sweden to Russia, UAE and Australia. Londa Hotel, located at the island’s most southerly Mediterranean vantage point – and close to Limassol Old Port and the new Marina complex – always seems to be popular with seekers of luxury, authentic experience, too.
Londa is around an hour’s drive from Mount Olympus in the northwest, home of the mythic Greek gods, where Zeus controlled lightning and thunder – nature’s own formidable ‘electric’ power! Today, Limassol once again heeds the call of the once all- powerful god as it joins five other city districts in Cyprus in a collective mobility initiative, part of the 2020 CIVITAS Destinations Project.
Sustainable mobility network
CIVITAS Destinations or ‘City Vitality and Sustainability’, was started in September 2016 as a 4-year plan “dedicated to cleaner, better transport in Europe and beyond”. The aim is to both demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of innovative sustainable solutions in six European tourists’ cities with different characteristics but sharing common challenges. Limassol was chosen for Cyprus alongside Rethymno (Greece), Madeira (Portugal), Las Palmas (Spain), Valletta (Malta), Elba (Italy).
A key component of the initiative – to be implemented by the Limassol Tourism Company – involves the district to become a part of a sustainable mobility network by the use of public transport, bicycle and, most notably, the electric car. The aim is to make Limassol a healthier city for its residents, and a more enjoyable and environment-friendly destination for its increasing numbers of annual visitors. The arrival of the electric powered car is sure to transform the entire region.
Among the measures aimed at promoting “electro-mobility” will be the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations with clearly marked shelters, an increase in rental e-cars and e-bikes with secured free parking, the launch of the electric/hybrid hop- on hop-off bus, and “Green Hotel” Awards. Limassol will even get its own mobile app to measure and compare carbon footprints, and to suggest modes of sustainable transportation in and around the district.
Already there are five charging locations with three more scheduled by 2018, which will include Limassol Port, Limassol Marina and Molos. Only Nicosia is currently set to have the same number of EV locations. Old King Zeus himself – who loved to harness the electric charge of a well-aimed thunderbolt – would be impressed by the role Limassol is playing in its 21st century application.
An even purer Mediterranean experience
As Cyprus visitor figures continue to rise, improvements to transportation within the visitor experience also forms a major part of ‘Sustainable Tourism as a ‘Tool for Development’. It was also the focus of this year’s World Tourism Day, held every September since 1980. The Limassol Tourism Company took the opportunity to celebrate World Tourism Day to highlight the CIVITAS Destinations initiative, alongside European Mobility Week.
More than 3,000 visitors attended the event held at Limassol Marina on Sunday 17th September 2017, which presented a varied programme of city guided walks, bus sightseeing tours, a cycling arena, bicycle treasure hunt, and on-the-spot art. Highlighted was an exhibition of electric vehicles and information about the new EV-Charging network in Cyprus.
People power is to be implemented to help transform the way Limassol can provide a sustainable mobility experience. As the initiative is rolled out, tourists and visitors will also start to become more involved in the process through the creation of the Green Label Award and Tourist Mobility Card. Visitors will be given an incentive to use sustainable modes of transportation as they travel and explore the area. Hotels awarded the Green Label will promote and support the Tourism Mobility card. Londa Hotel welcomes the initiative and looks forward to offering guests the opportunity to participate in the scheme.
Under the CIVITAS programme, Limassol is expected to improve the quality of life and accessibility by reducing emissions and energy consumption. The age of the electric vehicle is coming to Limassol. It’s no Zeus thunderbolt from the blue. As visitors figures continue to thrive year after year, an even purer Mediterranean experience aims to further enhance the cultural seeker’s journey, wherever it may take them – and by their chosen mode of transport!