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I spoke earlier this week at an eTourism Forum in Cyprus. It was my first time on the island. It is an interesting mix of contrasts:
- The main language is Greek, but everyone speaks English
- Everyone drives on the leftside of the road and the even the road signs look British
- The island has a series of micro-climates with snow on the mountains when I was there and a pleasant 20 celsius down nearer the sea
I spoke and participated in panel discussions over two days. You can find my presentation on Online Reputation Management and the Personalised Web. It was good opportunity to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones including: John Horsley founder of the Marzar social network, Gerd Leonhard media futurist, Richard Sedley of cScape, Andrew Gordon, Theodoris Koumelis of Travel Daily News and Dr. Natasa Christodoulidou of UNLV. The conference was enthusiastically hosted by Petros Mavros of Avantless on behalf of The Cyprus Tourism Organisation.
The audience were enthusiastic and eager to learn about what online marketing techniques could do for their businesses. It struck me that there was more demand than there was the local web and design talent to address it, though some of the attendees seemed to already have a sophisticated understanding of search marketing techniques.
What became apparent was the unequal nature of market power. The local businesses needed to reset the balance between themselves and the large tour groups that had traditionally brought travellers to the island.
Large tour groups immense market power was used to screw these businesses into the ground on price. Cyprus even needs to import its own drinking water, so a downturn in the economy would be disastrous.
Whilst I had been there on a professional basis, I wouldn’t mind going back during the winter or spring as a tourist to sample some of its more cultural aspects. More related content can be found here.