Head of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation Marios Hannides believes that Cyprus has an ace up its sleeve with sports tourism as an alternative form of tourism.
Addressing a gathering on Tuesday to present the CTO’s activities to promote sports tourism, Hannides said that tourism is essential in restarting the island’s economy. He added that sports tourism goes hand in hand with the principles of sustainable development.
He said that these forms of tourism can positively contribute to achieving the targets of the CTO strategy which includes seasonality, increasing tourist arrivals during off peak periods and increasing the per capita spending by tourists.
Hannides said that if one takes into consideration last year’s problems, then figures this year are encouraging. Despite the small decrease of 2.4% in arrivals, the arrival of Russian tourists has helped as the income from tourism marked an 8% increase, reaching 2,1 million euro.
Annita Demetriadou, director of tourism, strategy and research department said that sports tourism is a priority in the Tourist Strategy 2011-2015 because it acknowledges the important role it can play in achieving its targets.
She said the lack of a satisfactory number of flights during the winter season is a deterrent in further developing sports tourism, increasing the cost of the package. “In 2012 we had 112 clubs, 67 were football clubs and 45 for other forms of sports while in 2013 we had a total of 106, with 67 for football and 39 for other forms of sports,” she said.
She also said that most clubs want to be in Cyprus from January to April. The number of sports’ visitors increased by 22% in 2012 with income from sports tourism in 2012 reaching 24 million euro compared to 21 million in 2011.
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