Pafos 2017 introduction of the innovative idea "Open Air Factory" transformed the entire district into a big stage with cultural tourism development benefits
Pafos was selected (ECoC 2017) as an outsider and smallest city of ECoC. There was a need to enhance the image of the city of Pafos in the eyes of the inhabitants, to breathe new life into a city's/region’s culture, boost cultural tourism, regenerate the city, highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe. The central concept "Open Air Factory" was developed and implemented based on a tradition spanning thousands of years when culture was enacted out in the open air and on the acknowledgement that there is a necessity for a new openness in our way of thinking, living and acting so that we may re-connect spaces and people in our region. The OAF succeed a wider outreach into all parts of the region and community, mass exposure for the Pafos2017 activities and shared spaces open to communication and collaboration. The concept was not just about the openness of space; it was about tolerance, acceptance, encouragement and inclusion of different cultures, ideas and beliefs. The main stakeholders of the practice where the 4 Municipalities of Pafos, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Regional Board of Tourism, Hotels Association, the Union of Communities, Community Involvement, Groups of Volunteers, Local schools and businesses. Beneficiaries were the foreign and local residents, business, local and foreign visitors. The ECoC benefits the tourism sector that increased tourism demand, visitor satisfaction and legacy in terms of cultural venues.

Resources needed

The amount of funding used for the PAFOS 2017 was 10m euros (the lowest from all previous Europeans capitals of Culture) and the organization employed 40 persons as fulltime employees plus others for outsourcing. In addition 350 volunteers were registered and work for the completion of the project.

Evidence of success

With limited budget, the lowest ever spent for a ECoC, most of the objectives have been achieved. Pafos 2017 completed 332 actions and 168 projects. According to the official Gov statistical services during 2017 there was an increase of 10.5% in international tourism. According to a barometer undertaken from the Neapolis University it was reported that more than 28% of the spectators where visitors/tourists. Several infrastructure projects and cultural venues have been well implemented.

Difficulties encountered

The coherence and ownership of vision
Timing for sustain a vision or mission statement as early as possible
The issue of ‘authenticity’ and how to ensure local ownership
The wide range of goals and their potentially contradictory nature
Which events to organsise, where? when?

Potential for learning or transfer

Being a small city with serious absence of infrastructure, cultural venues, and budget OAF accomplished a series of projects throughout the ECoC. From the setup of the organisation structure, planning, implementation and promotion of events made this journey a good practice to share. Some examples of OAF activities open to the public are A) The Opening Ceremony in front of Pafos Municipality with local and foreign artists. B)"Compagnie Retouramont” a dance performance that took place up in the air in front of the Pafos Castle. C)"Eternal voyages". The event told the story of travellers from ancient years until present days based on technology music and performing arts. Harbour created the canvas of lights, projections and special effects, made it visible all over the city. D) "Moving Screens and See Fest" this innovative cultural event involves film screenings of well-known films from all over the world on the beach invited everybody to share a cinematic experience under the starry sky

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Main institution
Pafos 2017 European Capital of Culture
Κύπρος, Cyprus (Κυπρος)
Start Date
January 2017
End Date
December 2017


Nicolas Tsifoutis Please login to contact the author.