Cyprus officials have turned their attention to sports tourism, which could be a crucial market for the island country.
Cyprus officials spoke out about their interest in boosting sports tourism during the “Development, Sustainability and Innovation of Sports Tourism Services in Cyprus” conference, which took place in May 2022. It was attended by key figures such as Andreas Michaelides, president of the Cyprus Sports Organisation, as well as Sophia Zacharaki, the Deputy Minister of Tourism in Greece.
“We need to invest in sports tourism”
The deputy minister of tourism for Cyrpus, Savvas Perdios, announced the need for heavy investment in sports tourism. The ministry cited the 2019 calendar year, the last year before the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, when reportedly over 5,000 athletes visited Cyprus, with approximately 50,000 overnight hotel stays.
“We need to invest in sports tourism”, said Perdios. “In particular, we should turn our focus to sports such as swimming, shooting, karate, cycling and long-distance running”.
The president of the Cyprus Sports Organisation, Andreas Michaelides, went on to say that Cyprus had changed its perspective regarding sports travel, with newfound efforts to promote the country as a sports tourism destination to foreign influencers and journalists.
“We will further strengthen the cooperation with the deputy ministry of tourism to build interest in hosting major sporting events in Cyprus,” Michaelides said. “It is imperative to create sustainable and functional sports facilities, a priority for both [the Cyprus Sports Organisation] and for the state.”
Cyprus and Greece strengthen partnership in sports tourism
Cyprus and Greece have made efforts to strengthen their partnership in sports tourism. Andreas Michaelides remarked that Cyprus had recently renewed its deal for sports cooperation with Greece. This partnership sees the two countries hosting joint sports competitions.
Sophia Zacharaki, the Deputy Minister of Tourism in Greece, referenced one example of this in recent times.
“Around 300,000 people attended the recent Acropolis Rally, which unfolded throughout a series of small villages in Greece, as well as in Athens”, she said. “Sports tourism needs to be recognised as a form of social contribution, as it unveils locations and landmarks that would be otherwise unknown to most visitors”.
Zacharaki also stated that Greece is currently organising a ten-year plan that features boosting sports travel as a key segment.
Sports tourism on the rise in Cyprus
Sports tourism is recognised as being one of the fastest growing sectors in Cyprus’ tourism industry. The country boasts a wide variety of sports facilities, from Olympic swimming pools to mountain biking routes.
Cyprus is home to suitable accommodation from apartments to luxury hotels. Many hotels offer advanced fitness centres and experiences, as well as health spas too. A warm climate, innovative sports facilities and a dependable service industry all make the country popular with athletes and sports fans.