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Cyprus makes beaches accessible to people with disabilities

  • 25 May 2020

Through new infrastructure, communication campaigns, and information, this EU project is ensuring that everyone, including people with disabilities, can enjoy the beaches of Cyprus.

Finally, Cyprus can offer accessible beaches to its disabled citizens and visitors, to enjoy and benefit from the sea autonomously, safely, and comfortably with friends and family.

Dimitris Lambrianides, President of the Paraplegic Organisation of Cyprus

Cyprus is renowned for its beautiful beaches and coast – a beauty both citizens and tourists enjoy. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to enjoy a day at the beach. Due to a lack of infrastructure and information, the disabled, particularly those with mobility restrictions, have been unable to use the country’s beaches.

Believing that everyone, regardless of disabilities, should have equal access to beaches, this EU-funded project set out to better serve people with mobility problems. To do this, the project reinforced the infrastructure, communication, and information available at the country’s beaches and other tourist attractions.

Accessible tourism

The project was based on the concept of accessible tourism. Accessible tourism aims to create a complete ecosystem, including services and information, that can support people with disabilities, families with young children, and the elderly.

With this in mind, the project began by installing special infrastructure, including railings and ramp access to the sea, on the popular beaches of Paralimni and Syros. The project supplied 24 wheelchairs designed for use on sandy beaches and other tourist areas. Other initiatives included the construction of accessible corridors, paths, outdoor fitness areas, and restrooms.

Increasing inclusivity

The project launched an accessibility guide for people with limited mobility. Printed versions of the guide are available at the entrances to beaches, tourist sites, and the airport. The information is available digitally via a mobile app and website – all developed in accordance with the principles of accessible web design. 

According to project coordinators, people with disabilities and their families are already taking advantage of the new, accessible beaches. This increase in visitors is benefiting local economies, as people spend money at businesses, cafes, restaurants, and hotels.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “ERMIS II – Obstacle free tourism for all” is EUR 584 858, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 497 129 through the “Interreg V-A - Greece-Cyprus” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Justice and Fundamental Rights”.