Paphos was formally presented with a gold quality award today, as one of the top 20 European destinations for sustainable tourism 2013.

The coastal town beat off competition from 1,000 applicants to be been chosen as one of only 20 winners in the European competition ‘Quality Coast’.

Manager of the Paphos regional board of tourism, Nassos Hadjigeorgiou said: “We are all very proud of this achievement and will continue to do everything we can to ensure Paphos’ position as a quality destination.”

The Quality Coast awards commenced in 2009. With the QualityCoast programme, the Coastal & Marine Union-EUCC aims to establish a worldwide network of coastal communities that share similar values on sustainable development, nature and biodiversity, cultural heritage and identity, and social responsibility, at the same time maintaining high standards in the quality of their tourism. The awards are presented to coastal municipalities and tourism organisations which share the same values and implement practices for the management of coastal areas, improving policies concerning the protection of the coastal environment, cultural heritage and social structures.

Paphos was marked on the categories of nature, environment and identity and culture- for which it received the highest score- host community and safety.

It is now included in the list of quality coastal destinations of Europe and gets promoted as a destination which ensures that the environment remains clean. It also follows practices for the protection and promotion of local identity and cultural heritage.

According to the ‘Quality Coast’ website Paphos has become more than just a sun and beach holiday destination. The implementation of a sustainable tourism strategy has contributed to diversify tourism products and reduces the effects of seasonality in a substantial manner. Apart from its ancient ruins, monuments and archeological sites, this region provides a great array of activities such as bird watching, climbing, walking trails, adventure sports, festivals, wine tours and guided excursions to rural areas and traditional villages.

However, according to the ‘Quality Coast’ website, there is one point for improvement: “Stronger efforts should be made in order to improve the accessibility to the key tourist attraction sites for people with special needs.”