In Larnaca, Cyprus-Fishing port, a focus group took place under the management of CYPRUS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY.
- Introduction of the TOURISMED project and presentation of the business model
- Evaluation of operative options at local level (feedback from fishermen and fishermen associations)
- Role of the competent authorities
- Potential synergies with local touristic bodies and/or local authorities
- Feedback from fishermen and fishery associations
The presentation was performed by Christakis Damianou (Professor, Cyprus University of Technology). Dr Damianou presented the focus of the TURISMED project. Then Dr Damianou presented the draft business model agreed during the Partnership Workshop held in Marseille on the 11th of July.
He explained the different options for fishing tourism which were based on the Feasibility Study gathered in the TOURISMED project. A discussion was initiated concerning the adaptation for the local needs.
All fishermen in the meeting agreed that the main target group is foreign tourists and then local tourists. The fishermen stated that there is already great demand for fishing tourism. There are 4-5 boat owners who have obtained permit from the department of merchant shipping (DMS) to curry tourists for fishing. However, these people are not fishermen. They expressed that tourists prefer experience with professional fishermen.
Many fishermen complaint that the department of fishery is not pushing the legislature for fishing tourism aggressively. The ‘fishing tourism’ concept was promised to them many years ago by the Government, but nothing happened.
Several fishermen stated that in order to apply the safety features required by the Department of merchant shipping will cost around 30,000 Euros. At the moment the fishermen barely survive, because they cannot catch enough amount of fish. Therefore most of the fishermen cannot afford to carry tourists for fishing. They stated that only some boat owner (not fishermen) can afford to provide fishing trips to tourists. This is already happening in Ayia Napa, Larnaca, and Paphos and Latsi area.
At the end of the discussion one fisherman (Yiannis Loutsios) shows us 2 boat (see photo at the end) that have license for fishing trips. In these boats they can accommodate 20-40 tourists.
Many fishermen were very angry with the department of fishery because legislature for fishing tourism was not prepared yet. According to communication that we have with the department of merchant shipping, the department of fishery must supply some specifications. As a university we try to push the procedure so that a legislature goes to the parliament as soon as possible. We agree to talks two members of the parliament who worked at our university to push the legislature for fishing tourism.
It was emphasized that collaboration with local hotels tour operators must be initiated in order to have a good business model.
The president of the fishermen association (Christodoulos Charalabous) explained that his organization can play the role of informing its members about possible funding mechanisms regarding purchasing safety equipment. They can also assist for offering training programs for fishing tourism.