The objective for creating value added to the Cypriot hotel industry stems from the need to find ways of escaping from the channel of continuous price competition, in which substantial part of the industry has been trapped. Furthermore, strategic planning demands that value creation must follow the emerging consumer trends of the international travel industry. There is ample evidence to suggest that consumers are looking more for authentic experiences rather than ‘artificial’ or ‘globally identical’ travel destinations. Consumers, especially of an upper market status, are also becoming more sensitive on ethical issues, expecting from hotels responsible behaviors in protecting the environment, caring for the local communities and supporting the socially and economically deprived people.
Among the emerging consumer trends, food tourism ranks high, especially among travelers with better educational and economic status. Although Cyprus does not fall among the established brands for gastronomy tourism, it possesses a substantial gastronomic tradition, closely linked to its history and culture. Being situated on the crossroads of civilisations with deep rooted history and existence, Cyprus’ food treasures have been influenced by the cultures of different invaders, rulers and shaped into what one may term as an authentic experience. In this context, the concept of a Cyprus Breakfast can support a new branding proposition for the hotel industry based on the authentic and traditional character of the local cuisine and act as an umbrella promotion tool for supporting the Cyprus Tourism Industry.
This research work concludes that there is a common ground for both the hotel industry and their customers to adopt a new concept, in an organised manner which would promote not only the authentic products but the culture and other intangible values behind them. Although hotels are striving to create traditional corners, gaps are noted in their efforts and there seems to be an inconsistency in the presentation and innovative usage of these products in their breakfast buffets. In the region of Pafos, in which much of the research took place (the balance of work carried out in Polis), hoteliers seem to have been offering a breakfast selection that fits the needs of the British consumer, the dominant tourism nationality in the region. Yet, one cannot ignore the different preference options and the greater authenticity demanded by other nationalities. Furthermore, no one can ignore the need to differentiate and prepare for a value chain that will meet emerging consumer trends, irrespective of their nationality.
In trying to establish a framework for the Cyprus Breakfast, the study has focused predominantly on the authentic Cypriot gastronomy as a communication tool for promoting products and services that make up the ‘Cyprus Food Tourism’ product. The proposed framework has opted not to impose limitations and constraints on the origin of products and the supplier base, deliberately not wishing to upset current procurement practises. Therefore the proposed criteria do not focus on achieving direct support to the local micro-producer, yet support to the local community is an issue considered in an innovative way and indirectly incorporated into the criteria.
Taking into account the views and perceptions from hoteliers, consumers and the stakeholders, this research study has come up with a set of twelve criteria that make up the core framework in which the Cyprus Breakfast could evolve. Some of these criteria are novel in nature and aim to combine authentic tastes with educational experiences for a genuine appreciation of Cyprus’ traditional gastronomy. Furthermore, this framework sets the ground for a win-win approach, through which the hotel industry would support local communities and micro-producers, acting as a communication channel for their Food Tourism products and services.
Finally, the study proposes an organisational structure that will coordinate and manage the implementation of Phase II – the pilot implementation in the Pafos & Polis regions for testing the proposed framework.