18 June, 2020
The Cleanest Bathing Waters in Europe
A few days ago, one story dominated the headlines in the local press in Cyprus: Costas Kadis, the Cyprus Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, shared the conclusions of a report by the European Environment Agency, which found that the bathing waters of Cyprus were the cleanest in Europe.
According to the report, during the bathing season of 2019, that is from 1 May to 31 October, 113 water samples from along the coast were tested, of which 112 – or 99.1% – were classed as excellent. Austria’s waters were second best (98.5%), followed by Malta (97.7%) and Greece (95.7%).
The Minister was quick to point out how important this finding was, as it was bound to reinforce the image of Cyprus as a desirable tourist destination, especially for beach holidays. Also, worth noting was that these results were not a first; Cyprus achieved the same result in 2018. But the key message was that these findings were not a case of Cyprus getting lucky… The island goes to great lengths to comply with the strictest guidelines in the European directive regarding the management of bathing water quality.
There is little doubt that certified clean waters – as in the case of the dozens of Cyprus beaches boasting the European Blue Flag – are an important asset and likely to be one of the things holidaymakers mention to others when they return home. But the truth is that clear turquoise waters alone will attract tourists once, maybe twice; what brings holidaymakers back year after year is a much more complex package.
Ask any of the regular holidaymakers, many of whom have been visiting for decades, often even more than once a year, and the beautiful beaches will be mentioned in the same breath with the different facets of Cyprus hospitality: safe environment (especially for families), friendly people, good food, low population density, rich history and culture, natural beauty, cultural diversity, and year-round sunshine.
All these are features that make Cyprus a desirable destination any time of the year – which is why it is crucial that we maintain the high standards of water hygiene, together with the safety and honesty that are part of our culture, as well as the character of our island and the accessibility to well organized and managed places of natural and historical interest.