Cyprus property: Quality beach services and development

02 August, 2017 | Posted By: Antonis Loizou

By Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates Ltd – Real Estate Valuers & Estate Agents

It is interesting to record how public beaches are exploited by the various municipalities and other local authorities in Cyprus. Beach services in Cyprus so far have been restricted to providing umbrellas and beach beds. You might think that how much is this worth? I can assure you, depending on the beach quality and extent, it can reach an income of EUR 1 mln p.a. income per area.

The recent example was at the Paralimni area where the beach collectors (employees of the municipality) were reporting only half of what they are actually collecting. Once they were replaced, the income rose by EUR 400,000 and this for a 3-month season, let alone other areas for the beach use, by locals and tourists which are over a 5-6 month season. The money is big and the Troika of international lenders has suggested to us (Cyprus) to go out to tenders for the beach facilities. Yet the House with our objectionable MPs shot this down, prompting the Troika to ask “how much muscle the existing beach operators have in this country”?
The town that took full advantage of this beach exploitation is Limassol. Along the seaside promenade, there are several beach kiosks which although started only as kiosks-coffee shops, have developed into beach bars and restaurants, with a hefty income to the municipality. Yet, Larnaca municipality placed a kiosk on similar lines as Limassol at the Phinicoudes beach area, prompted the District Office to seek a demolition order (the Larnaca mayor is still wondering why the difference).
A well-organised beach has a direct link to property/house prices since one can enjoy the beach which is expected to be cleaned with facilities such as WCs, lifeguards, parking etc. A place where the whole family can enjoy with safety in the calm and clean Cyprus sea.
Coming back to Paralimni, this must be the only municipality that appears to be organised on this. Each small sandy bay has WC facilities and nearby parking, but no life guards. Every afternoon the beaches are cleaned and it is the only Municipality which provides rubbish bins enough to accommodate the visitors (most public beaches either do not have any or do not have enough causing people to place their rubbish around the rubbish bins at best). Because service brings demand it is quite strange that the extensive Polis-Latchi beach has limited use of these facilities, and the same applies to Paphos and other towns to a great extent.
In countries such as Greece, the beaches are operated mainly by hotels, based on fixed goods charges and that provide, through a mobile kiosk, all sorts of drinks, including alcohol, sandwiches, etc. An innovative hotelier at Mykonos, who is operating a beach, in addition to the beds and umbrellas has installed at intervals walkie-talkies, so that one can order whatever he likes while relaxing on the beach. Much to our surprise most (foreign) occupiers ordered champagne which comes with a bucket full of ice, an umbrella cover and a stand. Call it a show-off, call it a convenience, there were not enough waiters to go around. Of course being unruly in Greece the beds are placed right up to the water line allowing no free space for others, whereas the charges are five times more than these in Cyprus, let alone that an ordinary glass of wine is charged at EUR 19 and in Cyprus (if there is such a service around) just 5 euros.
Good and serviced beaches are those which we usually see on TV in the U.S. resorts and others, but there is a lot of beach business and potential for this type of facilities. Coming back to Mykonos, near a serviced beach around a bay, there is a luxurious holiday home development, which, we were told by a proud Dutch resident that “the beach service/facilities is all the money that we spend to buy the property”. Of course, there must be a client service in some beaches, including Cyprus, the organisation and facilities regulations (which we can copy from other countries) to make it work for everybody’s benefit. Our Mykonos Dutch friend added that “we paid EUR 1.5 mln for this house and we have attributed the EUR 500,000 to the organised beach. Of course, if one minds other people on the beach the organised beaches can be a minus, he added. The night parties are a problem and the Psarou beach (Mykonos) is not for us with the all night parties and live disco. Lovely if you are under 40 years old and small units near this beach are much in demand selling at EUR 10,000/sq.m. He explained to us that the beach entertainment is part of the local culture that the authorities are on the bandwagon and actually turn rocky beaches to artificially sandy bays to accommodate demand (and the authorities’ income). An attempt has been made by the municipality of Paralimni to improve three small bays (Syrena-Vizakia-Green Bay) and we have recorded objections by some people who have no idea of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ situation.
Last month, you might remember, we referred to the innovative Cypriot idea of beach container housing. This time we come up with another idea, but this time the money involved is so much that we doubt that the existing “beach Mafia group” in Cyprus will let it happen.