Study for the Assessment of the Image and Self-image of Larnaca

The city of Larnaca conducted an assessment of the image and self-image of the city in order to identify those elements of the city that are considered positive and negative by visitors and residents.

The selection process of a city or region as a tourist destination, investment space and as a place for relocation is affected to a large extent by its reputation in the global arena. It is the communication tool to promote the special identity of the place, defining subconscious images and opinions. The reputation and image has a direct impact on almost all aspects of subsequent collaborations with other cities, and plays an important role in economic growth.

In order to determine the image of Larnaca, questionnaires were designed, covering six areas:

A.                 Visitors

B.                  The sense of place

C.                  The appeal of the environment

D.                 The pulse of the city

E.                  The dynamics of the city

F.                  The appearance of the city

In the case of Larnaca, these indicators have been used to communicate how the city is understood by its residents (Self-image) and non-residents (Image). The questionnaires were distributed in three languages (Greek, English, Russian) and were answered in a valid way by 1,526 people.

The main advantages of Larnaca based on the results of this analysis are: safety, weather, friendliness of residents, food & drink, the beaches, the sun, the sea and the festivals. In all other factors it was assessed below or around moderate by the inhabitants (self-image) and by the non-residents. This negative assessment includes issues such as technological development of the city, the attractiveness of the city in terms of public green areas and modern architecture, the accessibility; social and economic benefits, the lack of the a favourable environment for business development, the low perception of education, etc.

A more positive view exists of effective governance, since the self-image and the image in handling social, economic, environmental and development issues fluctuate below average and around moderate, while guests assessed it slightly higher.

In order to gain a competitive advantage over other markets and attract visitors, investors and talent, a place must achieve an image that ranges from positive to very positive. Without such an image, there is a risk of reduced visitors and investments where tourism and investment interests turns to other competing cities causing a loss of vitality in the poorly performing city. As a result of this analysis, it was clear that Larnaca should seek comparative advantages in the existing environment and the characteristics of its identity and should look for possible prospects and developments that at this time may not be distinct.

At the same time, in terms of tourism, the visitor is looking for experiences that can be assessed as special, unique, original, different and able to attract his attention. These elements form a set of impressions arising from the place and its special identities. The city requires a development strategy for enhancement starting from the inside and then growing externally. This process is necessary for the City of Larnaca to achieve re-vitilisation, attract visitors, researchers and talent.