‘Touting out of control in Paphos’

Started by Newshound, June 20, 2008, 17:33:15

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'Touting out of control in Paphos' You expect this kind of thing in Tenerife but not in Paphos

AGGRESSIVE TOUTS pushing timeshare and holiday club memberships in Paphos are driving locals and visitors to distraction.

Paphos tourism has taken a few knocks in the past weeks; with the announcement of a fall in visitor numbers, and hotels showing concern over heavy work taking place on the seafront during the summer months.

"Paphos needs to be careful now," said 62-year-old Moutallos resident James Oswald. "We are losing our grip on the tourist industry and touting is just another nail in the coffin."

Oswald takes the bus daily from the harbour in Kato Paphos, to Paphos old town.

"I regularly see these touts harassing people," he told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. "They choose their target, approach them and really bother them."

Barbara Wallace, a retiree from Kamares village, agrees.

"My brother came to stay with me last summer for three weeks. He was walking in the harbour with his wife when a man came up and tried to convince him to attend a presentation at a local hotel.

"He made all sorts of promises, including a free holiday as a prize for attending. My brother and his wife walked towards the man's car and became suspicious when they realised it didn't have number plates.

"When my brother changed his mind, the tout and his friend, who had appeared out of thin air, tried to manhandle him inside. It's lucky my brother is a large man," Wallace said.

Year-round good weather, accessibility and a large British population make Paphos a good target for timeshare and shared-vacation ownerships.

These 'ownership clubs' emerged after the EU brought timesharing under legislation. Clients are lured by offers of 'lifetime' holidays for a reasonable price. A number of these operations are scams where consumers hand over a substantial joining fee, and are told they may book holidays at a beneficial rate. These are usually no cheaper than buying from a travel agent or booking online.

As the EU has not yet brought this practice into line, consumers do not have the mandatory ten-day cooling off period to change their minds.

Nicos Sophocleous, the Assistant Divisional Police Commander said that since March 25 a total of 400 fines for €80 have been issued to individuals for timeshare and holiday club touting in Kato Paphos.

The touts are fully aware their practice is illegal and use a variety of means to escape detection.

A number of well-known groups operate in the harbour area in Kato Paphos on a daily basis. They consist of a look-out, generally a scantily clad female, and one or two youngish men who approach individuals or couples they believe to be tourists, with a big smile, or friendly greeting.

They then usually try and give away a 'winning' scratch card, or suggest attendance to a presentation. There is also the prerequisite getaway vehicle - a car or moped - parked out of sight and usually does not have a number plate. Watching them operate is like watching a well-oiled machine. At the first sign of trouble, and on the lookouts signal, they all scatter in various directions.

"We have really had enough of them," complained the McFarland family, whose visit to Paphos has been marred by their experience.

"It's bad enough that there are water cuts and the whole seafront is a building site; but these guys are the worst.

"You expect this kind of thing in Tenerife but not in Paphos.

"Every day we walk along here to have lunch at the harbour and every day we are being harassed. It's not just us.

"I have seen these guys approaching other tourists, and they were complaining too. The government should really crack down on them. As far as I'm aware its illegal, and its bloody annoying too," he said.

Paphos and Larnaca airports have posters warning tourists about the free scratch cards that always win, free or discount holiday packages, free air tickets, limited time offers and holiday discount cards.

The office of fair-trading in the UK, recently issued a stark warning to Cyprus. Stop the bogus vacation clubs now and avoid damaging the tourist industry.

The best way to stop touts is by reporting them to police on 1429.



Originally posted by Newshound

"Paphos needs to be careful now," said 62-year-old Moutallos resident James Oswald. "We are losing our grip on the tourist industry ......

How many times have I heard that said in Paphos??  It must be at least 10 years ago that we were told that all current developments must be finished within 2 years and no further development would be allowed.  Paphos didn't want to become another Benidorm etc. etc.
Unfortunately virtually nothing seems to have happened to enforce these 'rules'.  As in so many places money talks.  
They will destroy the goose that lays the golden egg, if they haven't done so already.

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