Marketing Intelligence – Tourism in Cyprus
Cyprus is a truly Mediterranean country which has historic roots going back to the ties of Alexander the great as well as Cleopatra. According to legends, the place was also home to Aphrodite the Greek goddess. This formal British colony was attractive to rulers of the Mycenaeans, Egyptian, Persians and the Assyrians. Today however the country has become a modern European nation which has a prominent financial sector along with beautiful beaches and mountain peaks.
The following paper however discusses the ways in which tourist traffic can further be increased for the country and what are the salient key points of attraction which are appealing for tourists and travelers seeking holiday destinations in the Mediterranean specifically the country Cyprus.
The aim of this study was to collect information about prospective tourists who want to visit the country of Cyprus. This information is to be used for determining and developing the marketing strategy of the
The objective of this project was to identify the reasons as to why people usually go out on holidays, what determines the length of their stay and what are the various expectations that they desire from a holiday in Cyprus.
Using Questionnaires for Gathering Primary Data:
For the purpose of this study the primary data that has been collected has been through the use f questionnaires. The reason for using the questionnaires had been that the questionnaire formats available are very versatile and are a very cost effective method of gathering information. Aside from this the questionnaires can also provide easily analyzable and verifiable data. The advantages of using questionnaires for the project were:
· The responses can be gathered in a standardized manner simultaneously through a large sample of the population.
· Gathering data through questionnaire is less costly and much quicker than conducting an interview or a focus group.
The disadvantages for using questionnaires usually are:
· As questionnaire are usually event based its possible for the respondents to forget some of the information.
· One of the benefits of using questionnaire was that standardized information is collected. This can hamper the integrity and the relevance of the information if exceptional cases are not addressed.
· If the questionnaires are open ended or the length of the questionnaire is too long then the respondents might become tired and uninterested resulting in superficial answers.
· Respondent might also relay false information especially if they think the questions are verging on their privacy.
Interviewing the respondent is a much accurate method of collecting information, however if the sample size for the population is too large then this can be a very time consuming and a very expensive choice of a method of data collection for the researcher. Similarly in the case of a focus group, the respondents need an incentive for them to come and discuss the issue in a group. In this case if the sample is too big, then the process can be too time consuming and expensive for the researcher. As the sample size taken for the population of the tourists attracted to Cyprus and similar vacation spots was very high, using a questionnaire for collecting information was the best choice according to the requirements of the project.
The Questionnaire Design:
As the target market for the research was based on people who do are interested in spending their vacation in Cyprus, as a result the questionnaire were specifically designed keeping such people in mind. The length of the questionnaire was kept to two sides of a page so that the data collection tool was not to long or strenuous to fill out. The questionnaires were also kept such that they were self administered and required minimum assistance from the conductor. A consent form was also signed by the respondents to ascertain the willingness to participate on their part and to avoid any future claims or suits on the information collected.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Cyprus Government and the Cyprus Tourism Organization. As a result whenever a person visited their promotional website online, they were asked to fill in the questionnaire after accepting the terms stated in the consent letter. In this manner the sample for the survey was taken based on the actual population of people who were interested in visiting the country. Similarly the survey was also conducted at all the major tourist attractions in the region where the actual tourists were asked questions like:
· What attracted them to spend their Vacation Cyprus?
· How their experience in the country could be made better? And,
· Did they face any major hurdles or obstacles during their trip and stay?
Other questions that were asked pertained to the following:
What was their country of origin, whether this was their first visit to Cape Town, how many times have they been to Cyprus, where did they prefer staying, which tourist destination they liked the best and would want to see again. What was their most memorable experience in Cyprus, what time of year do they prefer vacationing in, why did they specifically chose Cyprus as their destination, etc.
The questions asked in the questionnaire were all in multiple choices format for the convenience of the respondent. However a couple of open ended questions were asked to get the opinion of the tourists on any improvement that can be made to make their stay more enjoyable and monumental.
Justification of the Questionnaire and the Choice of Scales:
While preparing the questionnaire, steps were taken to avoid any grammatical mistakes and make the questions as clear and relevant as possible. Emphasis was put on eradicating ambiguity from the questionnaire as the questionnaires were going to be self administered and as a result the respondent had to understand and comprehend the questions as easily as possible. Aside from this the element of bias has also been avoided by putting both the positive and the negative points of the argument in the as a choice for the question. Moreover as the questionnaire itself was going to be self administered and the respondents were to be kept anonymous (they were not asked to give their names) the chance of them being more truthful and less hesitant in their responses was much greater than in a focus group or in an in-depth interview.
In order to keep the questionnaire neutral leading question have been avoided and the emotional language has also not used. A three point likert scale has been used in most opinion based question. The three point likert scale was identified to be the best type of scale for the questionnaire as it is short and does not require much time and pondering or thinking required by the respondents. Aside from this double barrelled questions have also been avoided and the fact has been kept in mind that the tourist is not an expert about tourism or tourist destination or even Cyprus. The questionnaire also avoids false premises and does not ask questions which go beyond the scope of understanding and comprehension of the targeted respondent. As a result normal conversational language has been used. The main language used for the purpose of this survey was English as it is one of the universally common language and the tourists are able to comprehend somewhat of it. However on the ground level where the survey was being conducted at the local tourist attractions, a general interpreter and multi linguist were available for help in support.
The questionnaire does not indulge in asking personal questions or those which might be felt as an invasion to privacy in order to keep the rate of response high for the purpose of this research. Questions that have future intentions attached to them have also not been included in the survey tool so as to minimize the time taken to fill put the form and respond to the questions. The questions have been kept simple by not including double topics in the sentences or double negatives as they tend to confuse the respondents.
Open ended questions have been asked for highly opinion based questions like what improvements can be made, and what type of attraction would interest you, or what are the key characteristics that you seek in your vacations? The reason for keeping such questions open ended was because this would help us gather unlimited responses from the respondents. Issues that we would never have though about can crop up here making the process of data collection and the result more accurate. Aside from this the respondents can qualify and clarify their opinions and responses to the degree of importance. The unanticipated can also be discovered and the thinking process of the respondents could also be uncovered as to how the tourists and prospective tourists for Cyprus like to spend their vacation and seek in a tourist destination. The general disadvantage for using open ended questions always resides which include that the respondents might indulge in different level of details for the answer, the answer might even be irrelevant to the research and tabulation of the responses for the purpose of statistical calculation is very difficult. Aside from this open ended questions require more time to be spent on them both on the part of the respondents as well as the researcher. Some open ended questions can also end up intimidating the respondents who may just be flighty or superficial in their answers as a result.
Most of the questions in this survey are deliberately kept close ended by giving the respondents limited choice of answers to chose from. This is because this format makes the questionnaire easy to answer and the different responses of the respondents are easy to compare. Similarly the responses are easy to categorize and statistically tabulate. The choice of the responses stated in the questionnaire makes it easier for the respondents to comprehend as to in what context the question has been asked. Aside from this the responses from a close ended question can also be replicated to generalize for the population. The disadvantage that our survey has in terms of using close ended questions in a majority is that the choices provided can give the respondent’s ideas and can make them feel restricted, contained and frustrated. Aside from that the respondents also may be unable to distinguish between the different choices of answer provided. Aside from this the respondent might be confused and misunderstand or misinterpret the question. The major disadvantage of using close ended questions was that the fine lines of differentiation are lost and the respondents end up giving anticipated simple responses.
Effectiveness of the Pilot Test and Survey Questionnaire:
The survey was pilot tested at certain few location in the local region which are frequented by the tourists. This resulted in directly targeting the audience which had been set for the purpose of the study. Aside from this the pilot survey went without a hitch. Some concerns however were raised pertaining to the language barriers and the non willingness of those tourists from the European region to participate in the project.
The Survey findings and their Relationship to the research objectives:
The survey findings were that the people who tend to travel to Cyprus are usually seeking a multicultural experience. The visitors from the United States are much older, about in their late thirties and above. The visitors from Europe however were mostly in the age range of 18-26 and 35+. The main population of the tourist’s coming into Cyprus was mostly from Europe itself. The main thing that attracted the tourists to this Cyprus and made them choose Cyprus as the destination for their vacation was because of the superior quality golden beaches offered by the island and the diverse cultural background and history of this region. The archeological and historical sites were also appreciated and an attraction for the young as well as the old population visiting Cyprus. Aside from this the tourists are attracted to the region all year round regardless of the seasons however there is a significant high turnover of tourists during the summer.
Figure1: The age classification of the tourists attracted to Cyprus
The survey findings clearly depict the different characteristics of Cyprus that attract the tourists and this directly relates to the objective of the study which was to identify the reasons as to why people usually go out on holidays, what determines the length of their stay and what are the various expectations that they desire from a holiday in Cyprus.
How the survey results can be used to develop KOT’s communication strategy:
The survey results as stated above can be used to develop KOT’s communication strategy as KOT will now know exactly which tourists to target and what attractions and features of the Country should they highlight in their marketing and promotional stuff. Moreover specific packages can be developed according to the demographics and the age of the prospective target tourist population.
Limitations of the Study:
The limitations of this study are that the results of this survey can not be generalized for the general population of tourists seeking a vacation in the Mediterranean as the survey has been customized for Cyprus only. However some of the questions asked in the survey can be generalized. Aside from this the survey is also limited to mostly the English speaking population of the tourists who are willing and able to respond the questions in English. Although other variations of the questionnaires have been developed in French, Italian, Greek and Spanish as well the main language of communicating is still English on the ground level.
Questionnaire for Cyprus Tourism
Conducted by: XYZ
Dear respondent, this is a survey for determining how the government of Cyprus can make your stay more memorable and monumental for you. Please tick your preferred answer from the following multiple choice questions. You have the right to remain anonymous and not [provide your name.
Q1: What is you age?
Q2: What is your home country/ where are you coming from?_________________________
Q3: Are you vacationing with family?
Q4: Is it your first visit to Cyprus?
Visiting Cyprus more than twice____________________
Q5: What attracted you to Cyprus for a vacation?
The Night Life
The Golden Sea Beaches
The Historic Significance and Infrastructure
Q6: Would you prefer visiting Cyprus in any specific season?
Q7: Did you face any major obstacles or problems in your stay in Cyprus
Yes. Please state nature of problem._________________________________________
Q8: Where do you prefer staying on your vacation to Cyprus?
Boat/ Yatch or on a Cruise
Hotel in metropolitan city
Under the sky in tents
Other. Please state._______________________________________________________
Q9: In your opinion could your stay at Cyprus have been made better?
Q10: How can your experience and stay at Cyprus have been made better?
Q11: What tourist destination in Cyprus did you like best?
Q12: What was you most memorable experience in Cyprus?
Q13: What was the thing that you least liked about you vacation in Cyprus?
Q14: What do you think of as your dream vacation?
Q15: Would you recommend Cyprus as a tourist destination to your friends and /or family members?
Thank you for participating in the survey. Your responses are much valued.
John Milne, Questionnaires: Advantages and Disadvantages, Centre for CBL in Land Use and Environmental Sciences, Aberdeen University. http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/ltdi/cookbook/info_questionnaires/index.html