There’s been quite a bit of buzz going around the internet about the Boema Group’s intention to build a super-theme-park, Disney Style, in Cyprus. Here is a translated story by Vanessa Warwick from the Politis Newspaper :
The Russian government is informed of the plans of the 4 investors and supports the plan as it will assume a bi-communal nature, and will also indirectly allow it to exert increased influence in the politics of the island. This is assumed by the selection of an area inside the “no man’s land” (buffer zone between the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus and that controlled by the Turkish military) in the area of Pyla village. If the Cyprus government, currently reviewing the application of Boema Group which represents the interests of the Russian investors consents to the leasing of state land in no man’s land, the bi-communal nature of the theme park will be defined by two main entrances, one from each side, and by the inclusion of Turkish-themed attractions as well. According to the Minister of the Interior, the leasing of state land is very difficult but not impossible and was not the reason for the rejection of the first application of the consortium. In addition, in the construction and operation of the theme park, Turkish Cypriots will participate as well. The Russian government has received complaints from the Turkish Cypriot community leaders for not investing in the northern part of Cyprus and with this project is likely to satisfy them.
Christodoulos Papadopoulos, the Director of Boema in Cyprus, in an interview with Politis Daily, gave us a “tour” of the theme park and went over the status of the efforts of the group to secure state land for the project. The project was originally scheduled to be made in Serbia, where state land was offered, until Cypriot advisors engaged in the process suggesting Cyprus. The disadvantages for Serbia included political instability whereas the advantages of Cyprus, which include the better weather and climate and the potential to secure European Union funds in the areas of culture and renewable energy resources, helped change the plans in favour of Cyprus.
The two minister committee which is considering the leasing of state land, under the auspices of Minister of the Interior Mr. NeoklisSilikiotis, has already dealt with a previous plan requesting 1,000donums of state land, which was rejected, on grounds of the size of the project. The committee is convening again in the coming week to examine the application anew, this time for 650 donums of state land. In case the leasing of state land is granted, the issue will be presented to the Council of Ministers for final approval. However, according to Mr. Silikiotis, the application faces difficulties due to the plan’s enormous size as well as the fact that it is located in “No Man’s Land”. Two more ministers, Charilaos Stavrakis and AntonisPashalides (Minister of Commerce and tourism) agree with this position, stating that it is premature to talk definitively about this project.
However, according to Mr. Papadopoulos, whose office started working with the Group of investors a year and a half ago, things are on a good path. Contacts are already made with the government of Cyprus, the two mayors of Pyla, the United Nations via the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Cyprus, and any obstacles can be overcome. In case the leasing of state land is not possible, the interest of the Russian investors is still there, as there is a plan B for the construction of the project in state land at another location.
According to Mr. Papadopoulos, the viability of the project is a given, as the investors have secured assurances and have signed tentative agreements with tour operators who move 15 million Russian tourists a year, for the transport of half a million tourists a year to Cyprus. At the same time, the overall development in the Larnaca area with the new airport, the marina and the upgrading of the port to accept cruise ships, opens new prospects for the success of the theme park. The investors seek the permits for the project soon so that it may be operational by 2012, when Cyprus will receive the 6-month presidency of the European Union. In case the lease of state land is approved, the plans for the theme park will be submitted without delay to the Planning Authority. On the question of the identity of the Russian investors, Mr. Papadopoulos stated that they are Russian businessmen investing in Moscow as well as in European countries, in the fields of restaurants, night clubs, etc, while this period they are constructing a shopping mall in Moscow. The General Manager of Boema Group in Cyprus is Mr. Theofanis Pantelides. The construction company will be Chinese, with experience in the Olympic Games, while the co-operation with Cypriot architects and constructors is a given.
The theme park will include a 1,000-bed five-star hotel. The hotel will have such a shape that all rooms will have a garden view and will be next to the theme park, water park, cinema, theaters, amphitheaters, a ski slope, water falls, adventure park, shops, spas, museum, etc. The rides in the theme park, and the general theme will be inspired by Greek mythology and Cyprus history. Big parts of the park will be covered to be used in the winter as well. The name of the park, “Pygmalion and Galateia” will be taken from Cyprus history. Tourists visiting Cyprus are interested to know our history and culture. In one of the pools, which will have a mechanism for the creation of waves, there will be a daily show with the Battle of Salamis, with actors and possibly with the inclusion of some of the audience. The amphitheatre will be based on the ancient KourionAmphitheatre, and with elements from Herodion amphitheatre. ThePenatadaktylos mountain range will also be there and visitors will be able to climb it. Another pool will be themed after the Baths of Aphrodite.
The theme park will be open to all and will provide free transportation from all major cities in Cyprus.