The pilot actions for the Municipality of Pegeia are implemented under the domain of sustainable tourism. It includes two scenarios, one for gathering citizen and tourist opinions in order to improve the current infrastructure/facilities of the Coral Bay area, and the second one for determining a policy for promoting the island of Yeronissos as an archaeological attraction without harming the landscape of the island or interfering with the ongoing excavations.
One of the most famous Cypriot beaches, Coral Bay, is a popular tourist resort in Pegeia where approximately 2000 holidaymakers visit the beach during the summer months. In addition, because Pegeia is built on the ancient site of the old Akamantida, there are many places of historic and archaeological importance, such as Yeronisos Island where expeditions have unearthed many fascinating and significant archaeological remains. Due to its location, climate, natural environment and rich history, Pegeia is one of Cyprus’ main tourist hot-spots, attracting thousands of local and foreign visitors each year. Furthermore, many foreign nationals and expatriates have taken up permanent residence, which has facilitated in turning Pegeia into a cosmopolitan area with a diverse and multicultural society.
Pafos has been selected as the 2017 European Capital of Culture in order to accommodate the influx of tourists expected during the period leading up to and including 2017. In addition, ecological excavations have been taking place on Yeronissos Island for several decades. Many significant findings have brought internationally recognized archaeologists to the island to participate in the excavations. The municipal council, as part of the new sustainable tourism initiatives being planned, has considered various alternatives to promote the island as an archaeological landmark but at the same time doesn’t want to affect the on-going excavations.
Preparation of the campaigns relating to the two pilot tests for the Municipality of Pegeia began in June 2013, when public administration staff were trained in using various FUPOL platform features. Campaigns and Opinion maps for collecting comments and recommendations from tourists and local residents were subsequently hosted on the municipality’s official website in both Greek and English along with general campaign information. Additionally, links to the opinion maps were posted on the municipality’s official social networking sites (namely, Facebook and twitter) to promote the collection of comments and recommendations for both campaigns. A launch night was held later in the month to introduce FUPOL to the citizens of the municipality. The event was attended by around 250 Pegeia residents, who were informed about how the FUPOL platform allows them to express their opinion, contribute in the decision-making process and participate in the formation of policies. The campaigns and gathering of opinions were advertised online through the Municipality of Pafos’ portal on the DIEGO platform, while the SEED platform presented information about the campaigns in Greek and English with carousel slides at infokiosks.
Coral Bay beach FUPOL opinion map
The FUPOL platform has enabled the Municipality of Pegeia to involve the public in all aspects of the policy-making life-cycle. The responses from both the local residents and tourists indicated that they were keen on participating by providing their comments, opinions and recommendations in order to help design new or improve current policies. In fact, it was frequently noted by citizens that the ability to provide a comment or recommendation visually felt that their opinions mattered and that they was being considered. One of the challenges, however, lies in appealing to more tourists and improving the quality and variety of proposed improvements.