Since 1980, Pafos has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since then, the city has taken a variety of steps to become an appealing tourism destination, capitalising to the greatest extent possible on its cultural legacy and creative sectors. The most recent examples are as follows:
Intangible heritage-Phytiotiko weaving
Recognising the cultural importance of the Phytiotiko weaving tradition and with the goal of inscribing the Phyti embroideries on a weaving loom on the list of intangible world heritage. As a first successful step, all participating partners have managed to register the Phyti embroideries in the ICH of Cyprus.
The second phase is presently underway, with the goal of standardising the techniques for this specific weaving and moving on with the preparation of the application for the ICA’s world heritage list.
European Cultural Route: "In the footsteps of St Paul, the Apostle of nations”
The region of Central Macedonia in Greece, the Lazio region in Italy, the Pafos Regional Board of Tourism in association with the Municipality of Pafos in Cyprus, and the European Cultural Tourism Network based in Brussels, Belgium, have agreed to form a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) that develops, implements, manages, promotes, and supports the European Cultural Route: “In the footsteps of St Paul, the Apostle of nations,” as a result of the Cult-RInG Interreg Europe project (Cultural Routes as Investments for Growth and Jobs, 2017-2021).
The above founding members of this EGTC have signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation in which they have pledged to collaborate on the development, implementation, management, promotion, and support of the transnational cultural route for final accreditation by the Council of Europe.
Pafos Aphrodite Festival
The Pafos Aphrodite Festival has established itself as a worldwide cultural event with high standards for artistic performance and administrative efficiency. Since 1999, it has taken place in early September each year, including spectacular international operas, musicals, and ballets.
The festival encourages cultural tourism by promoting the intangible heritage of opera and related CCIs. Pafos Aphrodite Festival has celebrated 20 years of success.
Every year, the three-day performances are sold out due to the exceptional quality of the productions and the tremendous interest of an international audience of tourists and visitors. Thousands of people have attended the event over the years.
The imposing Mediaeval Castle of Paphos, set against the starry sky and the splendour of the boundless sea, provides an ideal setting for an opera performance. The event is made financially possible by sponsors.
Given that the opera shows are imported from well-established locales with a long legacy of opera, this event has a high potential for learning and transfer to new regions and cities. The environment, as well as the international audience of tourists and visitors, can be replicated in other destinations to strengthen the role of intangible heritage in the development and promotion of sustainable cultural tourism.
Local and international cultural events
Throughout the year, the region is very active in hosting local and international cultural events, ranging from concerts to parades, art exhibitions to open air festivals.
Pafos was awarded the best creative destination award in 2016 and the ‘Best Strategy in Creative Tourism Development 2020’, by the Creative Tourism Network (CTN).
Pafos was recognised among dozens of other notable locations for its cultural legacy and for providing guests with the possibility for creative experiences through active engagement in events relating to local community, tradition, and culture.
This is the most recent approach to discover a foreign culture and place in general, and it is becoming more popular by the year. According to the Creative Tourism Network (CTN), creative tourism is a new generation of tourism that incorporates travellers and locals in the creation of the tourist product (co-creation).
Innovative & creative private and public offerings
The Municipality of Pafos has established the KHAN, an artist space where local and visiting artists can exhibit their work. Private funding has also been provided, resulting in Pafos Creative Tourism uncovering hidden Cyprus for arts, handicrafts, and traditional products.
An excellent example is The Place – Home of Arts, Cypriot Crafts, and Traditions, located in Old Town Pafos, which allows visitors to observe and admire the abilities of various artists and craftspeople, all under one roof. One can also interact with the culture by creating their own piece of art with the help of a trained local craftsperson.
Pafos has preserved cultural history and repurposed several buildings into thriving cultural places over the years. It has also collaborated with local companies to provide guests with creative venues and itineraries, such as the “Meet the Locals” walking tour, which introduces visitors to the Old Town, its arts and crafts.
Pafos will continue to improve its reputation as an arts, culture, and creativity city, as well as a gorgeous smart destination.