Google searches by people interested in tourism in Cyprus reach about 100 million a year, while in 2017 there was a 60 per cent increase, according to the Google Travel Director for Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta, Orestis Andrianis.
According to CNA, speaking at the digitisation conference ‘Digi.travel Cyprus International 2019’ in Nicosia, Andrianis said that the increase in searches for Cyprus through Google was the 7th largest in Europe.
Some 70 per cent of the searches come from 10 countries, with the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany and Israel leading, which is reflected in tourism arrivals to the island, with 81 per cent of visitors coming from these countries.
Andrianis said online searches reflect the reality of tourism and this must be taken into account by companies active in the industry. Half of searches were made on mobile devices, which he said should be taken into account in the shaping of websites for hotels, restaurants and other tourism businesses.
Based on a survey by Google, the perception of Cyprus as a tourist destination is shaped searches relating to beaches, which account for 47 per cent, followed 35 per cent of searches interested in the island’s culture, and 34 per cent interested in how friendly the people are.
Cyprus searches are not associated with specific activities, the report said.
Andrianis said 90 per cent of people who visit Cyprus consider sun and sea the island’s biggest positive but seasonality was an issue, he said. Cyprus is associated with summer and this coupled with the perception that there is a lack of activities, is worrying.
He said there were 84 million searches for hotels in Cyprus and only one million for activities, “a number that is very small compared with other destinations”.
He also stressed that new experiences and activities could open up new prospects for tourism and address the problem of seasonality at the same time.
In his address to the conference, the new Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios referred to the need to move from mass marketing to personalised holidays.
The goal in the coming years, he said, is to focus not only on experiences but also on creating feelings for visitors so that their trip to Cyprus is something they can remember forever.
“Our role as a tourism industry is to be able to provide experiences and create feelings,” he said.
He also noted the role that local cuisine can play, along with Cypriot hospitality.
Perdios referred to the importance of Instagram as a tool for reaching a larger number of tourists, and the need for tourism business websites to differentiate according to the needs of different nationalities and groups.
The minister also said that diversification of the tourist product was particularly important, noting the need for more personalised experiences, which he said was currently missing from the market.
Cyprus saw close to four million visitors in 2018, a record number.