Comment: Cyprus experience shows short-lived impact of crises

Comment: Cyprus experience shows short-lived impact of crises

As protests escalate in Turkey, research suggests destinations can recover quickly once a 'crisis' is over. Ian Taylor reports

Turkey’s government was threatening to turn the army on protesters in Istanbul and other cities this week, amid few signs that demonstrations that began more than a fortnight ago were poised to end.

Companies selling Turkey might, therefore, expect to see some uncertainty among consumers about whether to book or to travel if already booked.

However, a recent study of consumer attitudes to Cyprus by Explore Research suggests a troubled destination can bounce back fast once a problem ends.Cyprus was at the centre of Europe’s financial crisis as the tourism season began at Easter.

The island’s banks closed for several days, people had to queue for cash and there were protests about the stringent terms of a bailout of the banking system.

The ‘crisis’ dominated the news between the end of March and second week of April, before ending almost as abruptly as it began when things returned to normal. The impact on visitors appears to have been minimal throughout.

However, Explore research at the time (in early April) suggested two out of five potential holidaymakers to the island (39%) needed reassuring all was fine before they would visit and 30% were less likely to book Cyprus this year as a consequence. Almost one in 10 said they would cancel a booking if they had one.

In total, 77% of the 500 consumers in the survey expressed concern about Cyprus as a holiday destination in April.When the survey was repeated in May the proportions had fallen: 30% still said they would want confirmation all was OK on the island before visiting and 21% were “less likely to book a Cyprus holiday this year”.

But twice as many (42%) said the banking crisis had not put them off going to Cyprus. Three out of five said they would still have a holiday on the island and 70% described Cyprus as “a pleasant” or “great destination”.

Explore surveyed a representative sample of 500 adults in each month, interviewing 1,000 in all. Two out of five (40%) had been to Cyprus at least once in the past five years and all had taken an overseas holiday in that time.

The results suggest consumer perceptions of Cyprus shifted between April and May and could be expected to have shifted again in the past month.

However, they also suggest the Cyprus authorities might do well to act to reassure people.

Younger respondents aged 18‑34 appeared most likely to be put off visiting the island in April, with 50% expressing concern at events, although only a handful said they would cancel a booking.

Given a choice of 10 options to describe Cyprus, more than one in five (22%) said the island was “in crisis” in April and this was the third most‑popular selection behind descriptions of the island as an attractive place for a holiday.

By May, those describing Cyprus as “in crisis” had fallen to 13%, making it the fifth of 10 options, overtaken by respondents commending the island as “good for English‑speakers” or offering “more than sun and sea”.

Explore surveyed 500 UK adults in April and another 500 in May


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