As fallout from the Ayia Napa rape claim case continues, authorities in Cyprus appear to be cautiously optimistic over the impact of social media’s #BoycottCyprus campaign.
“It’s too early to say whether it will affect us or not. There is no indication yet that it has, despite what some people are saying,” Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Wednesday.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism accounts for 22 per cent of Cyprus’ GDP.
The British teen found guilty of public mischief for lying about a gang-rape flew home from Larnaca airport on Tuesday night but vowed “my fight goes on.”
She was handed a four month suspended sentence on Tuesday morning in Paralimni court as the judge said he “gave her a second chance.”
“The main thing that determines whether the boycott will be effective or not is if more negative things come to light,” Noel Josephides, chairman of Sunvil and former chairman of the Association of British Travel Agents told the Sunday Mail.
“As long as the story is in the news, coupled with the MeToo movement in the UK, then you will get a certain section that won’t go to Cyprus,” he added.
About 1.3 million Britons visited the island last year, accounting for about a third of all tourists and making up the largest single group of tourists.
“The mass (tourism) market is very fickle. If hoteliers and others drop their prices, then tourists will come anyway,” Josephides added.
Tuesday’s sentencing closes a chapter on the incident which began in July, but the story is far from over as the teen’s lawyers said they would appeal the case – and it could possibly end up in the European courts.
“It’s been a nightmare for me, mum and everyone,” the teen from Derbyshire told the Sun. “Now, at last, I can go home to my own bed. I’m even looking forward to the cold weather back in England!”
The British teen, her family and the defence team have complained over how the trial unfolded – with the 19-year-old even saying “he (Judge Michalis Papathanasiou) was misogynistic towards me and my female defence team.”
The Sun also reported that prosecutors played down possible injuries on the teenager, allegedly sustained during the gang-rape, as “jellyfish stings.”