Pafos Cultural Capital of Europe 2017: Landscape interventions in the urban fabric as a tourist development tool
The relationship between tourism and sites of cultural and natural significance exists since the time of Greek Antiquity and strongly encourages landscape restoration of urban sites. This paper provides an up-to-date overview of the relationship between cultural landscape heritage and tourism, describes strategies that can lead to sustainable tourism where cultural heritage is a key factor, and formulates a methodology for landscape intervention, with a particular focus on the dynamics of landscape transformation and the rigorous reading of the ecological and cultural dimensions of the landscape of the town of Pafos, European Capital of Culture for 2017, as a major means to generate economic benefits from recreation and tourism. Pafos is a town with monuments of unique value from every period of its rich cultural tradition where ancient amphitheaters, agoras, and archeological sites co-exist in harmony with the unique Mediterranean seashore and the sensitive natural ecosystem of the Akamas peninsula. Pafos as European Capital of Culture for 2017 aims at developing a strategic sustainable plan to reinvent the town as a cultural landscape used as a tourist development tool. It will implement an extensive urban landscape design intervention plan, with the aim of restoring open public spaces, creating links between important sites and archaeological spaces, and recovering the lost connection with the natural environment, the land and the sea based on aspects of sustainable and eco-friendly tourism development. Such a landscape approach tempts to integrate natural and cultural heritage by recognizing that the current landscape is the product of long-term and complex interrelationships between people and the environment. This research may also serve as a basis for future strategic landscape interventions in the urban fabric as a tourism policy and cultural heritage planning establishing an exclusive linkage to the “sense of place” and landscape design.