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Sports Tourism in Cyprus

“How can sports tourism influence the shoulder season in the Republic of Cyprus”

Dzmitry Aleinik F2005511 Mano Alackolanga F2003633 Sergio Ugrinof F2002574 George Slavchev F2000321

This dissertation is submitted to Cyprus College as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor in Business Administration. Department of Business, I. Gregoriou School of Business FALL 2005



Sports Tourism in Cyprus








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Sports Tourism in Cyprus


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Sports Tourism in Cyprus

ABSTRACT Sport and tourism share common goals: understanding other cultures and lifestyles, contributing to the promotion and consolidation of peace among nations, and to forging closer relations between people of different cultures. From this prospective, two complementary worlds have been united, both of which seek to promote individuals as people that need to interact with others. “Undoubtedly, with the passing time of time, it is highly likely that the relationship between the two sectors will change and opportunities to strengthen ties and create a balance between the two will doubtless multiply”. – WTO Conference, Barcelona, 2001. Cyprus problem of decreased competitiveness partly had its roots in the “anachronistic offer of an obsolete and standardized mass sun-and-sea type of tourism”. Diversity through the development of alternative forms of quality tourist products is a necessity for the industry to move forward and succeed. “Sports tourism is undoubtedly such a quality product. It can give a significant boost to tourism and the national economy”. Statistics showed sports tourism represented 32 per cent of the total international tourism market and is expected to grow further. “Cyprus has a lot of possibilities and prospects to attract sports tourism, not only professional sports but also leisure activities.” (Renos Solomides, the chairman of the Association of Cypriot Tourist Enterprises, Cyprus Mail, 09/2005) In this paper, we, Cyprus College graduate students, will explore and try to prove whether Sports Tourism is applicable to Cyprus and can increase the number of foreign tourists during low season, whether this phenomenon can diversify and reposition tourism product in our Mediterranean island.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus



1.1 Background to the research The number of foreign visits to Cyprus decreases significantly during so-called shoulder season in Cyprus. For the period January – February 2006 arrivals of tourists totaled 121.027 compared to 131.495 in the corresponding period of 2005, recording a decrease of 8,0%. It is approximately 6 times less that the number of tourists during the same period of time in the summer. (Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus, 17.01.2006) Considering the fact that the island offers perfect weather conditions, facilities, infrastructure, high level of service, CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organization) draw up an Action Plan for development of Sports Tourism, major aspect of which is the development of special forms of tourism. Development of Sports Tourism can help to differentiate Cypriot tourist product and to reposition Cyprus as a quality and sustainable tourism destination, thus become more competitive. The topic was chosen in order to analyze the possibility of successful development of sports tourism in Cyprus; its current growth and steps government takes in this area. 1.2 Research problem and hypotheses

Nowadays, the Republic of Cyprus is in a severe and intensive tourism competitive environment. In order to face new challenge all involved organizations must consolidate their efforts in respect to invest, develop sports tourism and promote



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Cyprus as a sustainable destination for active, informed and demanding tourists. Unfortunately the sports tourism according to one of the CSO managers is still in a “primary stage of development”, because “there is a confusion of who is going to be responsible”. The hypothesis we are stating in the project is that sports tourism can be implemented successfully in Cyprus in order to influence the number of visitors during low season. The problem of seasonality can be partly solved by increasing number of sports visitors, but unfortunately the process is burdened by lack of initiative from the government. We hope to prove in this paper the significance of a quality and sustainable tourism development, part of which is sport tourism and its application in the case of Cyprus. Conducting a number of interviews with people interested in that kind of area and tailoring this data with a secondary research would prove the hypotheses that sports tourism really can positively influence the number of visitors during shoulder season and thus the revenues. Additionally, development of sports tourism can diversify “sea and sun” product Cyprus famous for and strengthen in competitiveness.

1.3 Justification and Methodology for the research

The research problems and hypotheses that we defined above require the collection of both primary and secondary data. The sources of secondary were found in different textbooks, articles in the Internet, newspapers, professional journals, etc. From the books we gained valuable information about what is sports tourism, its development and significance for one destination. Periodical newspaper gave us



Sports Tourism in Cyprus insight of governmental plans, statistics and action in concern to the project topic. Deductive method to draw up hypothesis will be used to make conclusion, after the hypothesis are objected by the survey results to confirm its existence. After the macro environmental analysis, using OT (opportunities and threats) model, we show the attractiveness of Cyprus market and the dependence of economy on tourism. In-depth semi-structured interviews, as a source of primary data collection, were used to examine whether Cyprus sports tourism development potential is realized, action to promote and develop it take place, by the interested organizations and people. We are going to use qualitative method in our surveys that are the interviews. Personal interviews should be used to some departmental mangers CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organization), CSO (Cyprus Sports Organization) presenting semigovernmental organizations and “in filed” managers of hotels that can offer facilities for sport teams and travel agencies that offer packages to interested sides in respect of sport tourists.

1.4Delimitation of scope and key assumptions

In the project in front of you, we asked ourselves whether the recent trend of sport development around the globe is applicable for Cyprus and thus can increase the number of sports tourists during winter season as well as during the whole year. Can the sports tourism development differentiate the tourist product and make Cyprus more competitive and sustainable Sports Tourism destination.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

1.5Outline of the Report Literature Review – A methodical analysis pertaining to the overall description, development, obstacles of the particular subject – Sports Tourism. It includes, the portrait of the Cyprus, analysis of sports tourism development on the island and future prospective to grow and the most important – opportunities to develop that kind of tourism. Methodology – illustrates and justifies the approach used to address the research aim and objectives. Includes the detailed description of the survey – the interviews, and other relevant information. Analysis of survey results – describes the results and states the research findings; as well as recommendation needed to be considered. Conclusion







recommendations, suggestions for future research.

1.6Conclusion Finally, we believe that our project could benefit to those who are dealing on every day basis with the sport development. According to the Action Plan (described later) the development of sports tourism is impossible without academic interest, conferences, events that acquaint with the subject, build its image and help to become professional. The study is merely a small part of the whole process, but we believe it will have a practical and academic usefulness both for the Tourism industry and Cyprus market.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus



Coming to the main point of the project itself we would like first to analyze the country’s profile and to give a brief description of the main characteristics in respect to macro environment and to present an insight of the sports tourism nature, problems and development. 2.1 MACRO ENVIRONMENT 2.1.1 POLITICAL

Cyprus is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government. Under the 1960 Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office. The President exercises executive power through a Council of Ministers appointed by him. Ministers may be chosen from outside the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives now consisting of eighty members elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term exercise the legislative authority in the Republic. Judiciary the island’s separate and independent Judiciary exercises the administration of justice. On May 1, 2004 the republic of Cyprus became a full member of the EU completing a long journey that lasted more than three decades. It is also a member of the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, United Nations and U.N. Agencies and many other international Organizations.

In July 1974, Turkey, using as a pretext the criminal coup against President Makarios, invaded Cyprus in violation of the UN Charter and all principles governing international relations. As a result 36,7% of the island was occupied, 162.000 Greek



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Cypriots - about a quarter of the population - who were forcibly expelled from this area, became refugees in their own country and are still deprived of the right to return to their homes and properties. In addition about 1.479 Greek Cypriots are still missing. Unfortunately, the problem still stays unsolved, despite many efforts of the government, UN and other organizations. 2.1.2 ECONOMY

The Republic of Cyprus has a capitalist economy dominated by the service sector, which accounts for 76% of GDP. Tourism and financial services are the most important sectors; erratic growth rates over the past decade reflect the economy's reliance on tourism, which often fluctuates with political instability in the region and economic conditions in Western Europe. Cyprus joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2) in May 2005 and could adopt the euro within the next two years. Although sluggish tourism and poor fiscal management have resulted in high budget deficits since 2001, the government is pursuing reforms to trim the deficit.

GDP per capita:

Cyprus has been sought as a basis for several offshore businesses, due to its highly developed infrastructure. GNP per capita in 1998 was over USD 13.000 -one of the highest in the world.


GDP-real purchasing power

GDP per capita


$16.82 billion



$8.43 billion




Sports Tourism in Cyprus Economic affairs in Cyprus are dominated by the division of the country due to the Turkish occupation of the north part of the island. Per capita GDP income (2004): Greek Cypriots--$20,961; the economy in the occupied part of Cyprus is heavily dependent on Turkey for subsidies for its survival - Turkish Cypriots-about $7,350. The service sector produces 76% of Cyprus’s GDP (there is a slight growth of 1.9% compared to 1998). The macro-economic environment is stable and GDP growth averaged 3.8% for 2005, decreased comparing with development in 90s.


(Annual %)









Inflation, consumer prices



Total population

Unemployment rate

Labor force

Occupied in services

780,133 (July 2005)

3.5% (2005 est.)

370,000 (47 % of

54.4% (2004 est.)





Sports Tourism in Cyprus Services and tourism (76.2% of GDP): Trade, restaurants, and hotels 20.4%; transport 10.9%; finance, real estate, and business 23.8%; government, education, and health 16.1%;







Agriculture and natural resources (4.4% of GDP): Products--potatoes and other vegetables, citrus fruits, olives, grapes, wheat, carob seeds. Resources--pyrites, copper,









Industry and construction (19.3% of GDP): Types--mining, cement, construction, utilities, manufacturing, chemicals, non-electric machinery, textiles, footwear, food, beverages, and tobacco. ( 2.1.3 DEMOGRAPHY

Greek and Turkish Cypriots share many customs but maintain their ethnicity based on religion, language, and close ties with their respective motherlands. The major part of Greek Cypriots are Eastern Orthodox Christians – 78%, whereas Turkish Cypriots are Muslims – 18%, others – 4%.

Total population

Population groups

Population: 780,133 (July 2005 est.)

79,1%: Greek Cypriots (624.900) 10,7%: Turkish Cypriots (78.133) 10,2%: Foreign residents (83.500)

Note: Prior to the Turkish invasion (July-August 1974) the two communities lived together in roughly the same proportions (4 Greek Cypriots: 1Turkish Cypriot) in all six administrative districts of the island. Since the invasion, about 57 000 Turkish



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Cypriots emigrated, with the result that today they constitute only 10,7% of the population compared to 18% before July 1974. 2.1.4 INFRUSTRUCTUIRE AND COMMUNICATION

In terms of infrastructure and communication Cyprus is one of the bestdeveloped state in the region. There are two international airports that are being renovated and substantial investments are planned in the budget for this reason, besides in 2008 and 2010 it is planned to commence two new airport buildings in Larnaca and Paphos respectively. (Cyprus Advertiser Newspaper, March edition) There are two big seaports on the south cost if the island: Larnaca, Limassol. Several major highways make up a good network within the country, providing good supply and





( Besides the “giant” in telecommunication services company CYTA, which used to be a monopolist, there are new emerging competitive operators, like Areeba, appearing on the market that proves the investment attractiveness of Cyprus market. 2.1.5. CONCLUSION

Describing and analyzing macro environment of the Republic of Cyprus we aimed to prove that the country is an attractive market and offer good opportunities for investment. Leisure activities together with financial services, trading of consumer goods and many others are only some of them. Nevertheless the required changes in taxation, nowadays domestic and foreign companies pay the same corporate tax of 10%, Cyprus stays an attractive state for investments, because the rate is lower that



Sports Tourism in Cyprus the ones in Europe. VAT rate for the Restaurant and Hotel Industries was reduced to 8%. (

Joining the European Union in 2004 Cyprus continued reforming its economic, educational, technology sectors. It’s planned to introduce Euro in January 2008; to decrease the budget deficit and continue the market liberation. Besides, the reliance of the country’s economy on tourism is significant, more than half of all the population is occupied in service industry, thus development and differentiation of tourism product is essential component in strategy to maintain and strengthen its tourism positions in intensely competitive environment.

Above it, Cyprus is a save place, with low level of criminal. Opportunities 

Threats 

Mild, Mediterranean climate (340 days of

Unsolved conflict with “occupied areas”

sun) 

Safety and low criminal level

Economy dependence on tourism

Low corporate and VAT tax rates

Reliance on British tourist market

EU membership (Euro currency from 01/08;

Undiversified tourism product

free labor movements, grants and loans)

Growing number of competitive

Well developed and renewed technology and infrastructure sectors

Linearization of interest rates and capital

destinations in the area 

Reliance on cheap foreign labor

Outdating facilities and hotel



* the OT analysis was made in correspondence to tourism development



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 2.2 SPORT TOURISM

In terms of popular participation, and in some aspects of practice, (sport and tourism) are inextricably linked… and there are sound reasons for those links to strengthen. Glyptis, 1989

The World Tourism Organization and International Olympic Committee hosted a major international conference on sport and tourism in February 2001 in Barcelona, Spain. This conference represented a defining moment in recognition of the relationship between sport and tourism by the leading international organizations for Sports Tourism. In build upon the reality of tourist demand for sport experience, the expanding industry response to this demand and the increasing body of academic research and publications in the field of sport tourism. Sports, particularly large-scale sporting events dating back to the ancient Olympic Games, have long influenced travel (Keller, 2001). However, the high number of travelers currently seeking active and passive involvement in sports is a more recent development (Delpy, 1998 in the book of T.Hinch, 2004). The following aspects characterize sport Tourism in times of change, second half of 20th century. Democratization, the process of opening access to previously restricted opportunities. Forces of globalization, facilitated by technological advances, such as satellite television broadcasting and the Internet have influenced the “sportification of society”(Standeven & De Knop, 1999, in the book of S. Hudson, 2003). The modern development of sport tourism, then, stands at the cross-section of contemporary trends that include: 1) the expanding demographic profile of participants in sports



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 2) heightened interests in health and fitness in western societies since 1970s and after 1990s in post socialistic states of Europe 3) increasing demand for active engagements in recreational pursuits while on holiday since the 1980s (Priestley, 1995, in the book of T.Hinch, 2004); and 4) growing interest in the prominent roles played by sports and sports events in urban renewal and urban imagery and the potential to leverage tourism opportunities associated with sports events (Getz, 1998, in the book of T.Hinch, 2004). 2.2.1 DEFINITION Writing this project we repeat many times a combination of words that were used to considered as two different worlds for long time - Sports Tourism; here we would like to give some comprehensive definitions of this recent trend: Sports Tourism

- is leisure-based travel that takes individuals temporarily

outside of their home communities to participate in physical activities, to watch physical activities or to venerate attractions associated with physical activity (Gibson, 1998, in the book of T.Hinch, 2004) Sports Tourism

- Individuals and/or groups of people who actively or

passively participate in competitive or recreational sport, while traveling and/or staying in places outside their usual environment (Gammon & Robinson, 1997, in the book of S. Hudson, 2003) In previous decades, academics and practitioners have treated sport and tourism as separate spheres of activity and integration of two disciplines has been rare. But the modern practice proves this to be different. Here are some figures: World tourism arrivals are projected to grow at 4.3 percent per year and reach 1.6 billion by 2020. In the same period, worldwide tourist spending is expected to grow at



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 6.7 percents per year and reach 2 trillion USD (WTO, 2001). One of the fastestgrowing areas contributing to these staggering statistics is Sport Tourism. In terms of popular participation and many aspects of practice, however, they are inextricably linked. These links have been strengthened in recent years due to several new influences and trends and the figures listed above is one more prove of that. Sport and tourism professionals have realized the significant potential of sport tourism and are aggressively pursuing this market niche. Sports tourism is not only a specialized segment of the tourism market, but it is in fact comprised of multiple niche markets. Their nature varies in terms of intensity, types of involvement in sports (e.g. events, active, spectators) & types of sport. More realistically sports tourism can be separated into several broad categories of product: -Sport participation travel (travel for the purpose of participating in sports, recreation, leisure or fitness activities), in this domain not only sportsmen and women are included, but people of an active lifestyle according to socio-graphic characteristics and -Sport spectatorial travel (travel for the purpose of spectating sports, recreation and fitness activities or events). Hall (1992), one of the researchers in this field, not only identified sport as a major special interest of tourism, but also articulated three related tourism dimensions, including 1) hallmark events, 2) outdoor recreation (adventure tourism) and 3) tourism associated with health and fitness. Of these three related domains, the area of 1) hallmark events is probably the most direct link to sport, as epitomized by national championship competition finals, such as Cyprus Rally, Shooting Annual International games, Marathon, etc. and the international mega-events like the



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Olympic Games. Because not all the countries can become a venue for such a megahallmark events, Cyprus can specialize as a pre-Olympic Games destination, which is successfully done on example with British Sports Association. 2) Outdoor recreation represents a second related area that is inextricably linked to sport tourism. The essence of this contextual domain lies in recreational activities that occur within natural settings, many of which are commonly classified as sports, such as canoeing, skiing and surfing. One of the most dynamic components of outdoor recreation is adventure tourism. Hall (1992 in the book of T. Hinch, 2004) identifies adventure tourism as a rapidly growing segment of the special interest tourism market. “Adventure tourism is a type of niche tourism involving exploration or travel to remote areas, where the traveller should expect the unexpected” (Wikipedia, 20 March 2006.) 3) Health and fitness activities provide a third related domain of relevance to sport tourism. The essence of this domain is evident from both historical and contemporary prospectives. The former is most commonly illustrated by the tourist activity associated with the therapeutic spas of eastern Mediterranean Europe in Roman times. In a contemporary context, travel to partake in therapeutic spas continues, but a health focus is also found in resorts featuring activities such as tennis and golf. All the three dimensions of sports tourism according to Hall (1992) are presented in Cyprus, thus being one more prerequisite and incentive for future development and prosperity. CSO (Cyprus Sports Organization) representative admits: “that if correct marketing decision and action will be implemented, it would be difficult for any other state in the region to compete with Cyprus.”



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 2.2.2. MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES The study of sport tourism markets raises important issues and opportunities in the fields of sport and tourism management. Sports managers are generally unaware of the sports market potential of visitors to a destination. The same point applies equally to destination managers seeking to diversify the tourism products at a destination by tapping into growing demand for sport tourism experiences (Bull & Weed, 1999, in the book of T. Hinch, 2004). A platform of market information is fundamental to the development of sport tourism at a destination; it is a starting point from which an in-depth understanding of niche sport tourism markets may be developed. Managers could also benefit from a more detailed understanding of the diversity that exists within event sport tourism markets. Effectively leveraging the tourism potential of elite sports events, changing the sport product to enhance the status of sport as a tourist attraction, development or upgrading of sports facilities may be effective strategy to access new markets for event sport tourism. Avenues of sport marketing that traditionally centre on local and domestic sports markets can also be expanded or redirected to embrace international tourists visiting a destination as casual consumers of sport. The profiling of sport tourists is an important step in segmenting the sport tourism market, thereby enabling niche market to be identified and targeted. An understanding of the specific motivations and needs of niche markets is critical to the sport and tourism industries. Effective tourism management in the field of sport tourism requires an understanding of important points of differentiation within and between niche markets segments, as this allows destination managers to match market needs (demand) to the sport tourism resource base at a destination (supply).



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

2.2.3 SUPPLY

Sport is beginning to emerge as a key component of tourism supply. Big tourism destinations are developing interesting tourism products concepts revolving around pleasure sports. These concepts enable destinations to stand out from their competitors and therefore increase their competitive edge in the international arena, attracting consumers who are keen on coming into contact with nature, getting to know other people and enjoy more healthy and interactive holidays. More of it, professional athletes have become an increasingly important target market for tourism destinations. There is a vital need for these destinations to invest in the construction of attractive and well-equipped facilities and installations, (often and as well in Cyprus it is the biggest hurdle) the design and financing of which are occasionally partly shouldered by the teams and sport federations, the incentive must come from the governmental institutions and private entrepreneurs that will subsequently become their main clients and use them for training sessions, local tournaments or other sporting events. The proper planning of the use of the existed or planned to be build facilities is one of the biggest challenges faced by public institutions and private enterprises, but in fact predominantly only major sporting events provide destinations with an unbeatable opportunity to project tourism image. This market represents good business opportunity for travel agencies and tour operators, which are often responsible for aggregating supply and ensuring the far more efficient distribution of the sports tourism package. Going into details of the supply of the sport tourism suitable development of tourism and sports products, both in terms of installations, facilities and activities,



Sports Tourism in Cyprus must be planned and controlled. And already from first glance at the Action Plan (analyzed below) we can say that proper planning and action are being undertaken by the CTO. Not all destination and countries can organize Olympic Games and world championships, and thus become destinations linked with major sporting events of all types. But regional and national events that also exist and being organized in Cyprus, promoting and conducting new ones, will give new opportunities for the country. Cyprus as a member of European Union nowadays has more opportunities, but at the same time need to differentiate its tourism product, increase and enlarge packages that are offered to more and more informed and active tourist. Without any doubt we can state that sport has become a major component of the tourism product. Indeed, the marketing and continues survival of a great many tourism destinations and products depends on the practice of sports activities. At the same time tourism is also an increasingly important component of a great many large and small sporting events. The tourism sector’s attitude towards sport tourism is shaped by the additional revenues it is capable of generating, both from the actual practice of the sport, but above all from expenditures related with accommodation, consumption, shopping, positive notoriety, etc. This gives rise to two tourism scenarios: -

One based on elitist sports practiced by relatively few people which require exclusive and expensive infrastructures and are geared to generating truly unique experiences. (e.g. golf, yachting)


The other scenario is one of sports for the masses, with a large volume of activity, a broad base of adherents and a large number of enthusiasts. (e.g. football, cycling, marathon)



Sports Tourism in Cyprus From a sports standpoint, activity and performance are the two overriding factors. Attention tends to focus on finding places that are suitable for practicing specific sport and that are equipped with suitable facilities, places that can host concentrations of athletes, although attention to the complementary leisure component is increasing. Sport and tourism are two subjects that generate two systems of reference stemming from a common reality that needs to be harmonized and structured. Figure 1 shows the conceptual relationship between sport and tourism. Although each sector of activity is already substantial, their interaction engenders complementary perspectives and common area in terms of equipment, infrastructure and activities that must be coordinated. There is an additional and important subject that tailors sport and tourism from the point of visitor (spectacular). For sports tourism or for tourism sport customer experience is a key and unifying issue.


Two different structure categories can be established: one will be determined by the type of sports activity available and other by the sports tourism infrastructure.


Sporting events

This heading encompasses major sporting events, sport festivals, both specific and general sports programmes and activities. According to the size, and therefore the complexity of its organization, two types of events can be identified: major events, like Football Cups World Athletic Championships, etc. and small-scale events, like national and regional championships, competitions and sports contests.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 

Tourism centers

Areas that have been specifically designed to attract sport tourists, including enclosed areas such as France’s Club Mediterranean sires and other centers that are more open, where the product on sale encompasses the entire destination. 


This is a very heterogeneous group. It includes museums, national parks, historical sites, theme parks and fun fairs, etc. Cyprus offers its guests a number of opportunities for visiting attractions and different sightseeing places, rich history heritage and plenty of well preserved sites together with attractions like aqua parks, museums and cultural events and centers make Cyprus destination attractive not only for tourists, but for the active sports tourists, amateurs and teams. Some of those installations are specifically designed as visitor attractions that revolve around the world of sport, whereas in others sport is simply an additional attraction that enhances the appeal of the visit. 


We distinguished two types of tours: - Tours organized for spectators wishing to attend specific sporting event - Tours for tourists who want to practice sport in a specific destinations (tours based on structured visits for sport teams, professional or amateur, involving prescheduled activities and programmes; for others who want to combine a holiday with the practice of a sporting activity; and sporadic activities, conducted on a purely casual basis relating to a given moments or situations) 2.2.4b INFRUSTRUCTURE BASED According to infrastructure-based classification of supply, linked with sports tourism activity we would like just to mention that there are two main of facilities



Sports Tourism in Cyprus ownership. Facilities are the key factor of determining the type of practice it can be used for. a) Public-owned sports facilities -

For general use, such as sports complexes or municipal stadiums that can be open to tourists wishing to practice sport. Due the fact that the number and occupancy level are limited, conflicts over occupation tend to arise between local population and/or local teams and visiting sports teams that are also entitled to use these facilities. Well planned and organized policy is required in order to avoid that kind of conflicts.

Unfortunately CSO still didn’t install the Central Reservations System offered by the CTO. -

Specifically designed for sports, which is the priority use, as opposed to any other types of complementary uses. b) Private-owned sports facilities


Owned by sport clubs. As a result of the decrease in club-based sport and the structures practice of sport, tourism sport now represents an additional source of income for certain institutions of this type.


Owned by tourism centers, as in the case of many Ayia Napa’s hotel football fields, tennis courts and golf fields in Paphos These complexes created sports infrastructures to cater for both professional and amateur athletes and sport tourists. There is a recent trend in the Mediterranean see area of building of such kind facilities, serving both sports tourism clients. 2.2.5 DEMAND Demand linked with tourism-sport as a joint activity can be classified into seven

separate groups which can be differentiated on the basis of their degree of



Sports Tourism in Cyprus involvement in the sports activity in question and the importance of the tourism component of this activity. 

Top-level athletes (less than 8% of all athletes) for Cyprus, football players (first division), golf, diving

Second-level athletes

Youth groups

Today’s promising young athletes will become the cornerstone of tomorrow’s competitive world of sports. In recent years, they have become an important target market insofar as the clubs to which they belong are increasing their purchasing power. 

Sport enthusiasts and amateurs

This doubtlessly constitutes the biggest group of these up to now considered under the heading “sports tourism”, with strong components. 

Tourists who practice sport when they travel

Tourists who practice sport on casual basis


Active participation in a sporting activity is not the aim of this group, which simply wants to watch a sporting event and is in many cases prepared to go to great lengths. Spectators rarely represent an important tourism component, except in the case of major sporting events. They do, on the other hand, represent a large source of revenue for tourism enterprises. All the three above groups apply to the tourism sports, although the importance of the sport motivation factor is considered to be growing. According to the Action Plan, emphasize in attraction this “demand” groups is given to the “top-level athletes”, “youngsters” and “amateurs” and both “tourists



Sports Tourism in Cyprus groups” because of the priority of sports, that are football, cycling (mountain biking), swimming and athletics. But in order to promote Cyprus as Sports Tourism destination attention is also given to “spectators” via promotion and conducting more international sport events. 2.2.6 MARKETING SEGMENTATION By writing this project, we confirm that sports tourism can be accurately conceptualized as a specialized market itself. The sports tourism “product” can be differentiated through geographic, socio-economic, demographic, psychographic and behaviourist segmentation techniques. Differentiation is an extremely important tool in modern marketing; Cyprus as a part of European market, is able to specialize in a dimension that proves around the globe to be profitable and worth of investments sports tourism. Geographic segmentation of the active sport tourism market, based on visitor origins or market location, is an effective approach to the study of sport tourism. The geography of sport tourism establishes the link between place of residence and opportunities to engage in certain sports in specified location. Proximity to sports resources, be they natural (surf beaches), built (sports stadiums) or a combination of two (ski resorts) bears upon disposition to consume certain sports as competitors, participants and/or spectaculars. For instance, sport related trips account for over 50% of all outbound travel undertaken by German and Dutch nationals, compared to 23% in case of French outbound travelers. Geographic segmentation is based on important differences in the preferred destinations, tourist activities and travel seasons of the study groups: -

summer sport holidays


winter sport holidays



Sports Tourism in Cyprus -

mountain holidays , for instance, Germans, one of the leaders around the

European visitors prefer mountain holidays (43%) to summer (19%) holidays. The report prepared by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Tourism shows the number, origin and other aspects of the outbound visitors coming to Cyprus. ( )

By analyzing it, we conclude and show the drastic shift down in the number of tourists visiting Cyprus during winter season. The majority of the tourists are from Great Britain, with total 1.391.842 visitors in 2005 (See Figure 3). British tourists are followed by Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Russia, Netherlands and France; (See Figure 2) totaling in 2.3 mln. visitors in 2005 British tourists together with Swedish shift from passive to active vacations, thus becoming more demanding towards the tourist packages. In the UK, for example, there is strong demand for specialist activities such as walking, cycling and golfing holidays. Source:( Socio-economic market segmentation is based upon variables like occupation and income. Participation in inexpensive, team-based contract sports like basketball is far from expensive, individual sports favored by upper social classes. Swarbrook and Horner (T. Hinch, 2004) confirm that “segmentation based on subdividing the population on the basis of demographic factors has proved particularly popular in tourism”. Active participation in sports varies on the basis of age. The following kinds of sport - cycling, swimming, football and track and field are emphasized in the Action Plan for Sports Tourism development, designed by CTO. Training of these sports requires substantial financial ability, however they are not “luxury” kinds of sport, like yachting.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Socio-demographic variables serve as a second step in sport tourism market segmentation. Water sports such as swimming, surfing, water-skiing and diving held strong appeal for the young market, the married and family travel market are less inclined to actively engage in sports while on vacation, nevertheless the German senior market is prone to rediscover their interests in actively engaging in sporting activities (Tokarski, 1993). The same situation is with female participation in active sport tourism, this segment is growing and competing with “historical male participation due to changing societal ideologies about the gender-appropriateness of many sports” (Wiley, 2000, in the book of T. Hinch, 2004) Tourism was traditionally more oriented to the idea of rest, relaxation and finding relief from psychosomatic wear and tear. The need for tourism to provide this therapeutic service remains important in the high stressed society of our day. However, the emphasis has shifted more to the healthy and quality of life issues. This tend gave rise to the need to include physical and sporting activities in tourism product. The “feel good” or “wellness” experience has become a new growth sector in tourism. People want active holidays where that can enjoy sport and exercises for which there is no time in their everyday life. This created a boom in leisure time tourism sport like cycling golf, jogging, mountaineering and hiking, etc. Psychographic studies are founded on the premise that “the lifestyle, attitudes, opinions and personality of people determine their behavior as consumers”. (Joy Standeven and Paul DeKnop (1999).

For example, profile “sport for all”

participants differ from those who peruse technical challenge or competition through active involvement in sports. It includes the absence of entry qualification, championship prizes and competition between participants. Instead, “sport for all”



Sports Tourism in Cyprus emphasizes the joy of sport participation and health-related fitness while deemphasizing excessive competition. The challenge is constantly to adapt and renew the supply of products and services to meet the changing requirements of emerging generations. It is known fact that sport disciplines as well as tourism product are subjected to life cycles. Management of the process of renewal and the re-designing of products and services in a field where sport and tourism can exchange valuable experiences. Behavior segmentation is classified according to relationship with a product. Implication for the visitor experience profile for growing number of participants in adventure activities, divides the market into soft (e.g. cycling, canoeing, horse riding) and hard (rafting, kayaking, climbing, caving) adventure activities. It is important for destination managers to understand the motivational and behavioral profiles of sports tourism market segments. 2.3 SPORT IN CYPRUS Since the ancient times, the Greeks were giving a great importance to Athletics and they were proud of the achievements of their athletes. The tradition didn’t die. Well-equipped gymnasiums and stadiums are built in various parts of the island and many well-known athletes take advantage of the installations for their training during winter months. The weather of Cyprus is ideal for outdoors-physical exercise throughout the year. Many stadiums, swimming pools in Cyprus are being renovated or built according to the Olympic standards. The Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), a semi- Governmental Organization under the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Tourism is the authority responsible for the Tourism Policy. Several policies and measures for the regulation of tourism development and tourism establishments are in force on the basis of the CTO



Sports Tourism in Cyprus legislation. In 2000 a Strategy for Tourism was prepared by the CTO containing the main strategic goals for Cyprus tourism for the decade 2000 – 2010, aiming in a 40% increase of the number of tourists. ( With the aim of further development and promoting sports tourism in Cyprus, the CTO has in 2003-04 drawn up a three-year Action Plan (2005-08) in co-operation with the Cyprus Sports Organization and other involved parties. “Action plan states what actions are going to be taken, by whom, during what timeframe, and what with what expected results. Activities can be directed towards accomplishing strategic goals through action planning” (T. Wheelen, D. Hunger, 2004) The immediate outlook for tourism arrivals is good for Cyprus, more than 2.3 million tourists visited Cyprus last year and at least half of them were British. On the basis of the results of the Passenger Survey, revenue from tourism reached £30,3 mln in December 2005 compared to £28,8 mln in the corresponding month of the previous year, recording an increase of 5,3%.( ) Even despite the increasing competition within the region, events such as the outbreak of bird flu, the war in Iraq, the airplane crash last summer - had an effect on the country, but arrival levels are continuing to grow. “After three years of decreases, this is a very positive development. Despite outside influences that couldn’t have been controlled – for example bird flu – tourism noted a significant progress over the year. And by realizing our strategic plan we believe we will enrich our income further,” – CTO president Photis Photiou said at his interview to Cyprus Mail in February this year.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus This increase gives an optimistic forecast of the tourism development in the future and planned mean annual growth of 3,4% (the official target of 3,5 million tourists by 2010) can be reached. (Cyprus Tourism Organization). Unfortunately, it is obvious that the coastal zone (the primary destination for tourists (1999 figures show Cyprus with 2,5 million) is under extremely high pressure. Thus, the problem of seasonally up to some limits can be justified. The problem of seasonality, one of the primary reasons of our projects can be solved through diversification of the tourist product Cyprus can offer. The diversification of the tourism product in Cyprus could lead to less dependence on the mass-market by appealing to lucrative niche markets, which will help to spread arrivals more evenly throughout the year, as well as more evenly throughout the island. Sports Tourism, development of which was missed from the sight for some time, is a key to success in a new field through differentiating Cypriot tourist product and repositioning Cyprus as a quality and sustainable tourism destination. Growing the independent sector will also see more tourism expenditure going straight into the economy, rather than to tourism stakeholders outside of the island.

2.3.2 SEASONALITY The prevailing view of sport seasonality is that it is a problem that should be resolved by destination managers. Advocates of this position point out that sport seasonality has many negative effects on the destination: underutilization of capacity, off-peak underutilization of transport and other complimentary to sport tourism sectors and products of the economy. Surprisingly, little attention has been paid to the possible benefits that may be attributed to seasonality. Harman however argues, that tourists low seasons offer “the only chance for the host environment to recover fully”.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus “While areas may experience very heavy use during peak seasons, in the long run they may will be better off than having that use spread more evenly throughout the year”. (S. Hudson, 2003) In our case we need to underline the “pressure” on the environment of the Cyprus under influence of tourism during high season and possibility to maintain sector occupied during low season by sports tourism with accent on substantial development. From tourism management prospective sport can be used as a strategy to influence seasonality with considerable success. The scheduling of sporting events during winter tourism season in Cyprus is an increasingly prominent aspect of event production and planning. In terms of active sport tourism destinations that are characterized by specialized recourses available during the off-season can be particularly attractive to sport subcultures groups. The introduction of new events and festivals is one of he most common strategies for altering seasonal tourism visitation (Hinch and Jackson, 2000, in the book of T. Hinch, 2004). Many sport events do not require large capital expenditures, they are relatively transportable and can be targeted to specific marketing segments. Sport events may offer the additional advantage of utilization exiting facilities and infrastructure at off-season times in the destination. 2.3.3 KINDS OF SPORT IN CYPRUS According to the geography of the island, its climate condition, developed infrastructure the listed below kinds of sport are well presented on the island and could be successfully further developed. SOCCER - The last 10 years Cyprus became an ideal place for all type of sports and especially for football. More hotels year by year provide athletic establishment for



Sports Tourism in Cyprus football








Some other hotels became totally sport centers which all ready gave hospitality to many famous football clubs and every year more and more clubs are choosing Cyprus for their basic training period such as Sheffield Wednesday, Eintracht Frankfurt, Vitesse FC, Cyprus National, Dynamo Bucharest, Spartak Moscow and much more. Such hotels are located all over Cyprus: Limassol, Larnaca, Pafos and Ayia Napa. Cyprus has developed many sport centers in order to host football tournaments and football clubs from all over the Europe. The ideal climate of Cyprus with mild winters and long stretch summers is placing Cyprus among the best sport resort of Europe. Hotels is listed above cities provide athletes with Olympic swimming pools, tennis court, basketball court, and sauna, gymnastic centers, football pitches and night lighting football pitches. GOLF- the government hopes to encourage the creation of nine to 14 golf courses. There are currently three golf courses of international standard operating in Cyprus. “Alternative schemes to attract tourism and increase revenue, while becoming less dependent on “sand and sun”, include the building of marinas, golf courses and casinos.” ( , August 6, 2004 Stefanos Evripidou) Emerging of the recent interest on behalf of Russian Golf Association gives a good incentive of becoming a training playground for Russian amateur and professional golf players.

Event: Cyprus Amateur Golf Championship (April 2006 Every year)

The fourth Cyprus Amateur Golf Championship is held at the Secret Valley and Tsada golf clubs near Paphos. TENNIS - recent victory of Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdadis proves that



Sports Tourism in Cyprus there is a great potential in tennis development in Cyprus not only for Cypriots, but for the foreigner as well, coming to train in Cyprus during shoulder seasons. Unfortunately almost 90% of all the subsidiaries are given to football at present.

The Cyprus Tennis Federation, as well as other associations, organizes important competitions and tournaments. Tennis courts are scattered all over the island and can be found in private clubs, hotels and furnished apartments.

CAR RALLIES - Various rallies take place throughout the year. The most important one is the "Cyprus Rally" which takes place every year by the end of September. Participants come from all over the world and it is classified with a coefficient 4 in the European championship. The Cyprus Rally attracts international broadcasting corporations, newspapers and magazines. It is the event that has very important press coverage and it s placed among the top 15 car rallies in the world. HORSE RACING - 50-55 race meetings take place every year at the Nicosia Race Course. The event of the year is the All Star Show, which takes place once a year, with the participation of jockeys coming from various European countries. TRACK AND FIELD - many national and European teams arrive to Cyprus every winter for their basic training. (Greece, Ireland, Great Britain and Sweden)

Event: Aphrodite 2006 The Cyprus Federation of Gymnastics hosts the ninth Cyprus International Gymnastics Tournament at Larnaca's Kition Athletic Centre. July 2006 (Every year). INHALL KIND OF SPORT - E.g. basketball, volleyball, and handball are widely known and well presented kinds of sport in Cyprus. Unfortunately, the number of in34


Sports Tourism in Cyprus door facilities often doesn’t allow foreign sport teams to use them, while “the priority of usage is given to local teams”. (Mr. Araouzos, CSO) MARATHON RUNNING

Event: Cyprus Aphrodite Half Marathon November 2006 (Every year); Venue: Paphos Organized by the Cyprus Health Runners Club, this half marathon is run to IAAF regulations. The start and finish are at the "Kiniras" Riu Cypria Maris Sports Centre and full medical back up is provided. Runners, who must be 16 and over, have four hours to complete the course, but fun runners can take as long as they like.

SKIING - Although Cyprus is known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather, snow skiing can be enjoyed on the slopes of Mount Olympus (1951 meters) in Troodos Mountains, from the beginning of January to the end of March. Mount Olympus is only in one-hour drive from the seaside town of Limassol and the capital Nicosia.

The Cyprus Ski Club owns four ski lifts and organizes several contests. The most important is the International Skiing Competition. The Cyprus Ski Club also provides professional instructors for beginners as well as the necessary ski equipment. BADMINTON - Although Badminton is a fairly new sport in Cyprus, it has become quite important to some people. Very interesting tournaments are organized throughout the year, mostly through the Cyprus Badminton Federation and European Badminton Union. BOWLING - Bowling has become very popular in Cyprus. There are several



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Bowling Centers spread in the towns, all of them very well equipped. The Cyprus Bowling Association organizes competitions very often. CYCLING - The Cyprus Cycling Federation organizes contests throughout the year. Participants are both Cypriot and foreigners who come to the island to enjoy cycling. Facilities for renting a bicycle are available in all towns and resorts. SQUASH - The Cyprus Squash Association organizes various championships and participates in European tournaments. Squash courts exist in all towns and in certain modern hotels. DISC SHOOTING - International and local competitions are organized with both Cypriot and foreigner participants. There are various clubs and associations that try hard in order to maintain shooting and interesting and popular sport.

All the listed sports can be trained during off-season in Cyprus; below is a brief description of summer water activities. BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Event: Cyprus Official Beach Volleyball Tournaments July - August 2006 (Every year) Not to be confused with the Cyprus Unofficial Beach Volleyball Tournaments, the Cyprus Official Beach Volleyball Tournaments, organized by the Cyprus Volleyball Federation, take place each summer in various beach locations. WATER SPORTS - The safe, clear, and warm waters around Cyprus mean that water sports can be enjoyed all year around making the island an ideal destination for those who enjoy swimming, sailing, yachting, surfing, diving and water-skiing. The sea has proven to be the heart of summer, as without it, summer would have no 36


Sports Tourism in Cyprus meaning. Over the last few years in Cyprus there has been an introduction of many water sports. DIVING


The crystal waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the rather warm

temperature of the water (15-17 centigrade), as well as the magnificent submarine world, make diving very tempting. Among other summer-water activities are: paragliding, Jet Ski, speedboats, water ski, windsurfing, water-bicycles, etc. Comparing table with kinds of sport offered for amateurs and active tourists : Resort name

Sport facilities and services


Hiking, Trails, Mountain Biking, Horse Riding Skiing in Winter


Water-sports, Snorkeling, Diving, Boat Trips


Golf, Cycling, Soccer team training, Tennis, Squash, Bowling, Water sports, Scuba diving


Water-sports, Football, Diving, Horse Riding and Golf


Water-sports, Marinas, Fishing

Ayia Napa

Soccer team training, Water-sports, Diving, Golf, Aqua park

Drawing this table and listing kind of sport presented in Cyprus, the idea was to show the number of kinds of sport in Cyprus and the level of their development. The point was to show that sport is significant part in the life of the island and



Sports Tourism in Cyprus prospective for tailoring sport with tourism is possible. Sport already has become an integrated part of tourism on the island and further development and correct planning in order to conduct tournaments is needed. The number of sports impresses, unfortunately infrastructure of only some of them satisfies basic requirements and need and could compete with other destinations. Cyprus has many possibilities and prospects for attracting sports tourism both as regards hosting international sports events and professional teams for training. With the aim of further development and promoting sports tourism in Cyprus, CTO draw up the Action Plan for sports tourism development for 2005-08 years. According to this plan the priority is given to the development of the following kinds of sport – cycling, football, swimming and track and field. “The future of the tourism in industrialized countries largely depends on the adoption of products diversification policies. Indeed, if it is undeniable that seaside tourism still accounts for the dominant number of tourism visits, in many areas the capacity threshold has been reached and these zones have become saturated. Hence, …these countries must concentrate on development of other zones for tourism. To achieve this, new tourism products, new routes and areas must be developed. …one of the sophisticated product to attract a high-spreading clientele is sports tourism. ” (F. Vellas & Becharel, 1995) 2.3.4 CONCLUSION “Until a short time ago, there was little coordination in the development of the two activities, sport and tourism, even though they shared many points in common. Nowadays ever-closer links and ties between them are to be expected” – abstract from the WTO conference in Barcelona in 2001.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Sport has become a major component of the tourism product. However, the business worlds of the two sectors are almost completely separate. Tourism enterprises sell sport as a recreational activity, rarely as an organized activity and they rarely employ sports professionals to manage this component. Sports enterprises regard the tourism component of travel merely as a necessary evil (e.g. accommodation expenses) The situation should gradually change, particularly on account of the fact that some tourism initiatives are based on the practice of sport and that some tourism destination are developing sports infrastructures with the aim of attracting not only sports enthusiasts but also professional teams that seeking an agreeable climate and quality facilities for training or for visits, far from the intense competitive and media pressure they are subject to in their places of origin. The intention of this chapter was to give an idea of potential Cyprus has got for the development of sports tourism. Analyzing macro environment and tourism development of the island we proved that Cyprus is an attractive market from economical prospective, infrastructure and technology sector are well developed and can stimulate future tourism growth. Nowadays, Cypriot tourism market is well developed and is in a highly competitive tourism environment. Previous projects prove that not only foreign market, but even “occupied territories� threatening future growth. Tourism is a substantial part of the GDP in the country and recent numbers of foreign visits prove that CTO needs to give more efforts in order to maintain this significant sector of the economy prosperous. Experience of a number of other countries proves that one of the ways to differentiate tourism sector is the development of sports tourism, which can help to reposition Cypriot tourism product, give a new image to this destination. Thus influencing future tourism inflows,



Sports Tourism in Cyprus attracting new kinds of visitors and the most important, securing a substantial inflow of tourists during low season.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus


3.1 Introduction “Methodology is the system of methods, rules, and postulates followed in a particular discipline”. (Wikipedia, on-line encyclopedia) It is defined as "the analysis of the principles or procedures of inquiry in a particular field" (Merriam–Webster). It identifies the method of research and how the analysis is carried out systematically. The hypothesis defined in the introduction is a combination of the primary and secondary data research. Therefore, the authors were required to collect both primary and secondary data. For this project we use a seven sequence method shown in the appendixes (See #4), which was first proposed by Howard & Sharp (1983). These seven steps illustrate the research life cycle, however this is just a framework, because the research is not a linear process, it is more complicated. The purpose of methodology is to conduct a clear structured research method getting data to support the discussion of the research topic.

3.2. Justification for the paradigm and methodology

To prove the justification for our paradigm and methodology, we use qualitative method, which mean use of qualitative data sources that include observation and participant observation (fieldwork), interviews (will be used in this paper) and questionnaires, documents and texts, and the researcher’s impressions and reactions. That kind of research methods was developed in the social sciences to enable researchers to study social and cultural phenomena. The motivation for doing qualitative research, as opposed to quantitative research, “comes from idea that



Sports Tourism in Cyprus particular social and institutional context is largely lost when textual data are quantified”. ( 3.3 Primary research

For this step, it was decided to use personal interviews. In particular, (from three different types of interviews) semi-structured interview model was used in order to collect valuable information for our project. This involves using a set of questions, but the interview may probe further into relevant areas. Often, the further questions are formulated according to the replies of the respondent. The interviews were built on “flexible method in order to build a two-way conversation between the interviewer and respondents” (C. Williams, 2004, course outline book). They were conducted in an open-ended and descriptive manner and all the conversations were recorded in order to permit the accurate retention of important information. Approximately, all the interviews were around 30 minutes.

Another reason why this type of survey was used is because the topic simply would not allow us to collect information using questionnaires. The number of possible respondents who could give us relevant to the topic information is limited, thus quantitative method was refused.

For the purpose of the survey, managers of different types of organizations and companies were interviewed.

Opinions of the non-profit semi governmental organizations, like the Cyprus Sports Organization were presented by Mr. Demetris Araouzos, First Administrative Officer; Philippos Sophocleous, First Officer, Sports Department and Costas Solomou, Sports Facilities & Venue Officer; in Cyprus Tourism Organization



Sports Tourism in Cyprus interview was taken with Monica Liatiri, Tourist Officer in charge for Sports Tourism. Opinions of private organizations’ managers were given by three travel agencies – Mr. Henk Smeding – Suncare, Mr. Sotos Stephanou - Aeolos Travel, Pambos Solomonides – Travelscope and three hotel managers who offer accommodation and sport facilities for sport enthusiasts and local/foreign sport teams, namely – Mr. Christos N. Volos, Asterias Beach Hotel, Mr. Pantelis Andronikou, Nissiana Hotel in Ayia Napa and Mr.Charis Hadjineophytou, Four Seasons Hotel in Limassol. ( 3.4 Secondary research Many authors have defined secondary data as follows: “Data that has been collected for some purpose other that one at hand” (Zikmund, 2003). Also, Hussey (1997) defines secondary data as “data, which already exists, such as books”. Secondary research occurs when a project requires a summary or collection of existing data.

As opposed to data collected directly from respondents or "research subjects" for the express purposes of a project, (often called "empirical" or "primary research"), secondary sources already exist. These secondary sources could include previous research reports, newspaper, magazine and journal content, and government statistics, etc. Sometimes secondary research is required in the preliminary stages of research to determine what is known already and what new data is required, or to inform research design. At other times, it may make be the only research technique used.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus CTO’s reports and some relevant publications are more easily accessible than primary data collections such as interviews, surveys or questionnaires. In addition, besides easiness, cheapness and quickness are another merits for the secondary research. Furthermore, suggestions for the primary data research were not made until all the relevant information to the topic was collected and fully analyzed. The authors will collect all the secondary data using library books, internet data, different magazines and newspapers and also the reports and publications of CTO and CSO. All the above sources gave us insight to the problem and realization of the potential for the development of sports tourism in Cyprus. Among other benefits of this king of research is impossibility of the collection of relevant information from first-hand and easiness of access. Hence secondary research was considered to be the most informative method of investigation. The Cyprus College catalogue was used to search for relevant books, however for more recent arguments and critical studies of the subject CTO publications and the Internet provided up to date articles. Of course, as well as the primary, secondary research was limited. Lack of relationship with rest of the subject or the article, the Internet often can provide only a summary of other writing are some of the examples. Before we started, we tried to find out more information about Cyprus tourism industry, macro environmental situation and sports tourism itself. A number of key issues emerge from our research. The tourism development that boomed in the Republic of Cyprus after 60s is in severe competition nowadays, new potential competitor is emerging on the border of the country (“occupied territories”), and the number of tourists during winter drops significantly and thus leaves a number of tourism establishments not occupied. One of the possible ways of solving seasonality



Sports Tourism in Cyprus problem is the development of sports tourism. For the prosperity of which Cyprus has got all the conditions, including climate, geographical conditions, well developed infrastructure, low taxes, stable and growing economy, joining the European Union and safety. These are only some of the prerequisites for this process, the process that could seriously change the Cypriot tourism in general. As a result, we choose the hypothesis for the project – sports tourism can be implemented successfully in Cyprus in order to influence the number of visitors during low season. We need to mention a kind support and advices with the suggestions about the paper to our advisor and instructor. 3.5 CONCLUSION Describing types of research we are planning to implement, we need to mention that we encountered some difficulties in search of both – primary and secondary data. First of all, secondary data material was limited and sometimes insufficient. Especially in concern to the actual sports tourism development in Cyprus, that proves its primary stages of development. Secondly, the process of contracting the interviews was difficult, few respondents were eager to meet personally, or meet at all, to make an interview. Besides, the interview time was limited and responses of some governmental officers were “smooth over”, meaning that answers were positive in most of the cases, when private sectors proved the situation to be different.

Still, we think that we managed to get the insight of the topic and presented realistic “image” of the sports tourism development in Cyprus, its influence and significance during winter time and in general.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus


4.1 INTRODUCTION Data description and analysis are defined in Chapter four in our project; we are not planning to use any mathematical tools while our survey is based on a qualitative approach. This chapter will be based on the results of semi-structured interviews; data analyzed here will be used to make conclusion and give our suggestions for the development of sports tourism in Cyprus and for further research. This chapter is divided into three main parts. The first part introduces the reader with the content of the chapter and explains why this particular kind of interview was chosen. The second part gives results of the feedback we received from the interviewed people and example of the questions that were used to collect information. In other words, it indicates why we choose these questions and what we want to know asking these questions. In the last part we tried to tailor information of the literature review and the data of the survey; deliver our conclusion and recommendations.


Semi-structured interview model that was used to collect data for our project. This model involves using a set of questions, but the interview probed further into relevant areas, because all the conversations were based on a flexible method in order to build a two-way conversation between the interviewer and respondents. Often, the further questions were formulated according to the replies of the respondent.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

4.3. DATA RESULTS 4.3.1 Interview at Cyprus Sports Organization: Mr. Demetris Araouzos, First Administrative Officer; Philippos Sophocleous, First Officer, Sports Department and Costas Solomou, Sports Facilities & Venue Officer, presented Cyprus Sports Organization.


Does sports tourism really exists in Cyprus (especially during winter

season)? Sports tourism in Cyprus is currently at primary stages of development, even though there is an interest from many organizations, like Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), Cyprus Sports Organization (CSO), Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, etc., everybody wants to develop it. But there is a confusion of who is going to be responsible; nobody invests, sets up the whole infrastructure in concern to the sports tourism development. All the non-profit organizations do a little by themselves.

2) What kind of sports are promoted, during shoulder season in Cyprus to attract tourists? There are good facilities for swimming, cycling, football (first division), track and filed. WRC is popular and brings 15 mil. CYP during 5-6 days.

3) What kind of areas are developed to promote sports tourism in Cyprus? If correct marketing decision and action will be implemented, it would be difficult for any other state in the region to compete with Cyprus.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 4) Do tourist willing to visit Cyprus during shoulder season? The last Olympic Games in Athens proved that Cyprus is a destination that proves to be a perfect place for training and stay of the sport teams (British Olympic Team stayed and trained prior the Olympic Games in 2004 in Paphos, Coral Beach Hotel). And one of the primary reasons foreigners choose Cyprus, is the fact that Cyprus nowadays is that country is a secure place, facilities are comparably new (5-15 years old) and, of course, weather conditions.

5) From which parts of the world they are? Almost all the teams and sport clubs are from Europe. Especially, northern Europe sport men and athletes that search for a place isolated media in their country, save, and of course, with good climatic conditions. Cyprus could offer all of it, besides because Turkey suffer from bird flu epidemic, Cyprus benefited a lot as alternative destination for training. “Sports tourism is on the rise, with analysts saying travelers are switching their attention from Turkey to Cyprus” (Cyprus Mail, 21/01/06)

6) What kind of facilities they are asking? In-door facilities for basketball, volleyball and handball trainings and swimming pools. The requirement for better facilities and more facilities is evident. “At the moment all the existing facilities are overloaded with sport teams” – CSO officer, Mr. Araouzos admits. There are many sports facilities that are provided for local athletes and teams, CSO simply doesn’t want and cannot give priority to foreign sportsmen. When it’s possible foreign teams that are coming to Cyprus because of the weather conditions



Sports Tourism in Cyprus immediately fulfill the “gap”; other pros are that English is common language, English teams enjoy the left driving, etc. The lack of sports facilities, especially in the following kinds of sport: football, any kind of sport that requires swimming pools (swimming, water pole, etc.); there is no problem for a foreign team to come to Cyprus to train the following kinds of sports: track and field, athletics and some in-door kind of sports, like basketball, handball, volleyball; cycling. The lack of enough football field and swimming pools negatively effect the willingness of foreigners to do these sports in Cyprus.

7) Does the Cyprus Government do promotions to attract sports tourists? No, CSO a semi-governmental organization doesn’t. Its representatives are aware of the lacking facilities problem, but the CSO that is in charge of development of that kind of projects, in other word in building of additional places for trainings, (because it is a non-profit organization) cares only for the goodwill of the local clubs and sport teams. The importance of the development of these projects is discussed between CTO and CSO;

10) How does sports tourism effect on Cyprus economy? It is beneficial not only for the both organizations (CSO and CTO) to fulfill the facilities, but it is beneficial for the entire economy and society as a whole. “The problem is understood, discussed, but no one takes initiative to undertake some measures”. Mr. Philippos Sophocleous said.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 11) If the effect on tourism revenues is high, will Cyprus Government launch any major development projects in future to attract more sports tourists? Yes, Cyprus Tourism Organization drawn up a Strategic Plan for Tourism up to 2010, in cooperation with CSO under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Tourism. The development of sports tourism was a top priority for the government and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), as laid down in the 20032010 strategic plan. Separate 2005-2008 plan for sports tourism has also been drawn up, which he described as an Action Plan to boost the sector even more quickly

4.3.2 Interview at Cyprus Tourism Organization:

Monica Liatiri – Cyprus Tourism Organization Officer in charge for Sports Tourism presented Cyprus Sports Organization.


Does sports tourism really exists in Cyprus (especially during winter

season)? No doubt. There is a tourism strategy approved by the government (2003-2010); Sports Tourism Action Plan is a three-year plan (2005-08) approved by the board of directors of the ministry and by the CTO. The plan is in a face of implementation nowadays. Some £6 million has been earmarked to develop that sector over the next three years. The opportunity and potential of sports tourism is understood and being explored. Reestablishing Cyprus as a tourism destination, making Cyprus an attractive sport destination - all these are parts of the strategic approach that surprisingly come different comparing to the view of the CSO managers.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

2) What is the interest of CTO in development of Sports Tourism? According to the plan CTO favors all special interest projects that will help to face the problem of seasonality, first of all, to increase the number of arrivals during the shoulder season period, to increase the per capita expenditure (tourism spending is a priority, not the number of the visitors), while for “sports tourists” spend more – training, participating, spectaculars; more of it, this kind of tourists are repeated customers (loyal customers is the aim of every profit seeking hospitality establishment).

3) What kind of areas and sports are developed to promote sports tourism in Cyprus? In accordance with the Action Plan the following kinds of sports received priority: -Football Perfect climate conditions for football training during shoulder season gave an incentive to attract first division European teams via tour operators like “Delta” and “Suncare”; CTO cooperates with these agencies as far as hospitality is concerned; 150 football teams visit Cyprus during winter time and because of the facilities shortage CTO makes efforts to upgrade a number of facilities in the area of Ayia Napa attracting private investors to sponsor these projects. Still there are planned two financial grand schemes to upgrade sport facilities. The shortage of the facilities and clashes between local and foreign teams coming to Cyprus can be solved by implementing of a Central Reservation System, the agreement was reached with CSO, but unfortunately the implementation of it is delayed. - Cycling (which doesn’t mean only athletes, but leisure), in this area serious investments. It’s planned to establish Cyprus as a cycling (predominantly mountain 51


Sports Tourism in Cyprus biking) destination. Meaning promotions and organizing international sports events like Cross-country Race on the 19/03/06, which is sponsored entirely by CTO, another plan for cycling development is a project financed by CTO and Euro Structural Funds. Local federations and privet entrepreneurs receive grand schemes to help to host important international events. -


There are five existing Olympic size swimming pools in Cyprus and the demand for them is huge. In accordance to the plans of upgrading of the Olympic pool in Limassol, which was begun at the end of last year and will be completed in 2006 and the completion of the town’s new “Palais des Sport”. -

Athletics, track-and-field

Cyprus Tourists Organization makes efforts to gather some statistics for the special interest products, like cultural tourism and sports tourism. The aim of this “in field survey” is to find out the size of the market and make a database with the results of the number of sport and congress meetings. It could be a good indication of the size of this tourism sector, market origins and impact on the Cyprus economy. It could also indicate the situation in respect to completion. CTO sponsors a number of events and especially ones that have an international significance and recognition.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 4.3.3 TRAVEL AGENCIES

The image of sports tourism development would be insufficient without private sector, “in- filed” managers that are on every-day basis busy with this sector of tourism. The all-overall result of the interviews with managers of Suncare - leading travel agency involved in sport tourism and Aeolos Travel, Travelscope are presented below. 1) What kind of facilities does your establishment (organization) has got in order to attract sport tourism visitors? Most of the travel agencies do not possess any sports tourism facilities, they merely rent the existed ones. The limited and insufficient number of in-door and open-air facilities, often lead to unavailability of the renting. Cyprus Sports Organization is one that is responsible for renting, because priority is given to local professional teams, foreign teams cannot visit Cyprus for training and choose other destinations, thus decreasing the number of foreign visits, especially during shoulder season. Partly the problem is solved by a number of hotel owned facilities of all four following resorts, Ayia Napa, Larnaca, Lemesos and Paphos.

2) Do you receive any governmental help, assistance, support in favor of the Action Plan, or any other, for sports development designed by CTO?

None of the agencies according to the survey receive any kind of governmental assistance and help.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 3) Does sports tourism really exists in Cyprus (especially during winter season)? Yes, the existence of Sports Tourism in Cyprus is undeniable. More of it, there is a huge potential to develop this sector of tourism. The number of foreign teams willing to come on training is growing and Cyprus is in a severe competition in the Mediterranean region for them.

4) What kind of areas are developed or could give a potential to promote Cyprus as a sports tourism destination? What are the strengths of Cyprus for development of Sports Tourism? The number of football fields in Ayia Napa and the Alpha grounds in Larnaca prove that football area is quite well developed. There is growing interest in cycling and swimming. Most of the respondents “think we are only now starting with getting Cyprus on the map, where it concerns other outside sports”. Unfortunately, all the respondents point out the main obstacle of the development is respect to sports tourism – insufficient number of sport facilities. (swimming pools especially) As for the strengths of winter tourism on the island is the weather, mild climate and the widely spoken English are the top ones. Infrastructure and communication are among the others.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 5) Do tourist willing (do they respond to the supply) to visit Cyprus during shoulder season? “The tourists would be more willing to come in the shoulder months, if the hotels would have better [read lower] rates for these months”. But as it was mentioned before, the number of interested in visiting Cyrus for training visitors is growing.

6) From which parts of the world they are?

The majority of the sport teams and clubs are coming from Central Europe: Britain, Sweden, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Switzerland and many others and every year many National teams, such as the ones from Lebanon, Jordan and even North Korea.

7) What kind of facilities they are asking? Depending on the kind of sport facilities can be divided into two groups – in-door and open-air. Both of them often miss to meet the requirement and are lacking. In-door halls for volleyball, handball and basketball training. The number of “really good playable football grounds” is low. “The last one is the headache for most of the agencies all in the business: January, February and March can be in some years a bit too wet for the fields...” in concern to the accommodation, high demand is for 3 and 4 star hotel facilities. 8) What are the major steps your organization is undertaking to develop, promote, etc. sports tourism in Cyprus during shoulder season?



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Among the major steps different tourism agencies trying to undertake are: lowering the rates for accommodation; marketing activities in order to promote and advertise Cyprus and collaboration with CTO for upgrading and building new facilities, pitches, fields, and any other sport infrastructure. “CTO/government has a big field there to work in” 4.3.4 HOTEL MANAGERES

In order to have a better idea of the current development of sports tourism and the impact of Tourism Strategy on the private sector presented by Cypriot hoteliers, we have conducted three interviews with managers of Asterias Beach Hotel and Nissiana Hotel in Ayia Napa and Four Seasons. The Ayia Napa area is famous for its football fields that are used by different foreign and local teams for training, including shoulder season. 1) What kind of facilities does your establishment (organization) has got in order to attract sport tourism visitors? The facilities available at the named above hotel, as well as presented at many other 4 strar hotels in Cyprus, are built in correspondence to increase and enrich the marketing segments of visitors. Namely, small football fields, tennis courts, swimming pools (with heating equipment as well) are targeted to attract increasing number of “active tourists”, tourists who require other ways of holidays comparing to old tendency of “sea and the sun” visits. “ We offer richer and larger opportunities and things to its clients, in order to satisfy the needs of larger market segment and improve your competitiveness. ” Interviewed managers do not invest in sports tourism. Obviously, the reason is a period of time needed to return the invested amounts of money. “These projects cost a lot of money, and the return on the investment doesn’t substantiate the amount of the investment itself.”- Mr. Pantelis Andronikou



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 2) Do you receive any governmental help, assistance, support in favor of the Action Plan, or any other, for sports development designed by CTO? No, none of the organizations receive any governmental assistance and help. Nevertheless, they agree that “the government should announce incentives”. It’s a private sector who supports the governmental, “it’s a normal practice, that all the initiative is taken by different entrepreneurs.” “You need to take the initiative, develop your ideas, make market research, gain the support from your partners, which are the tour operators.”- Mr. Christos N. Volos


Does sports tourism really exists in Cyprus (especially during winter

season)? Yes, both the respondents agreed with the fact that sports tourism exist in Cyprus. Although, the guests of the hotels coming with the purpose of training and renting big football filed correspond to only 5% of the occupancy. Nevertheless, the opportunity for a good stay these establishments is well exploited by growing number of “active” leisure tourists. 4)

What kind of areas are developed or could give a potential to promote

Cyprus as a sports tourism destination? What are the strengths of Cyprus for development of Sports Tourism? The mentioned above managers’ opinions of Cypriot market potential and strength for sports tourism development coincides with answers of other respondents. So, climate, widely spoken English, good infrastructure and transportation were among the areas of strength. Unfortunately, lacking number of facilities, closing hotels during winter were main weaknesses of the industry.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 5)

Do tourist willing (do they respond to the supply) to visit Cyprus during

shoulder season? Lately, the number of sports tourism visitors has increased, one of the reasons for this are the fears of bird flu in Turkey know as a destination for European sports team training sessions. “They come to the town [Ayia Napa] as we have 16 football pitches where they can train…”– Ayia Napa’s mayor Barbara Pericleous commented to Cyprus Mail (Jan., 2006). More teams would come on training, e.g. from Russia, if not the time-consuming visa-issuing procedures.

6) What kind of facilities they are asking? “Good playable football pitches and other sport facilities to correspond to the price; lower 3-4 star hotel rates for the accommodation” - Mr. Christos N. Volos. Nevertheless, Ayia Napa’s mayor Barbara Pericleous said “we have good rates for pitch rental. Our aim is to attract people – not to make money.”

7) What are the major steps your organization is undertaking to develop, promote, etc. sports tourism in Cyprus during shoulder season? Hotel managers do not take steps for promoting sports tourism in Cyprus, neither in marketing nor in managerial approach. Again, the undeniable fact is the repositioning and enriching tourist product for “leisure visitors” who are becoming more informed and “active”.

* one more time we would like to underline that the presented questions were used merely as a frame for the interview. In practice, interview goes in-depth, according to the responses, probed further according to the answers.




But how does one measure the impact of a sporting event on a country’s tourism? Should one consider that strong investment and recognition are the only witnesses of the sustainable tourism development in one country? We don’t think so, and the CTO either. Given that alongside these tangible and immediate elements there is all the consequences that one calls image: an image that is now vitalized, transformed and enlarged. A brief, new perception of a tourist destination or of a destination will start to attract tourists. The mass media play a fundamental role in the sector and can build up and undo athletes and destinations with ease. And CTO tries to widespread the image of Cyprus as a sport destination (kickboxing tournament sponsored by CTO and broadcasted by Eurosport took place during first week of march this year). It is essential for the media to act according to well-defined codes of ethics, to foster the image of tourism destinations and sports activities according to their merits and their huge impact on present-day society.

4.4.1 Here is the typology of sporting events CTO could refer on. 1)

World events, one of the best examples is the Olympic Games, an event with

a worldwide media coverage. The Olympic Games in Athens proved to have a favorable effect on the development and promotion of Cyprus as a destination for sports tourism. The momentum that has developed in conjunction with intense activity on the part of CTO in this sector resulted in many important teams and athletes choosing Cyprus for their training, as well as the pre-Olympic. Special mention should be given to the British Olympic Association, which has chosen Cyprus as its



Sports Tourism in Cyprus warm weather-training venue in Europe. More of it, Cyprus has got to offer much more that its perfect weather conditions. CTO had signed a marketing agreement with BOA, which will probably be renewed for a further two years following a new proposal from the BOA. Thus, probably not capable for hosting such huge sport events, Cyprus can ideally differentiate itself as a venue for training. 2)

National events with an international relevance, for example Tour de

France or Wimbledon. If the event is international, generally it will be covered by the counties that have athletes taking part in the competition or by those who have traditional interest in the sport in question. The image of high-level sport is mainly aimed at a public composed of fans, although it can attract the general public. World Rally Championship in Cyprus is one of the examples of that kind of sport event. It takes place on 13th of May annually and attracts thousands of visitors and significant attention of the media. It brings in 5-6 days approximately 15mil. CYP from different sources and besides creates a good image. 3)

Local sporting competitions that have a strong symbolic value, for those who

practice the sport but also for certain sectors of the public. For instance, this is the case of Marathon in Limassol and Nicosia. 4)

The gathering of people who practice sport for a non-competitive purpose,

just because they enjoy being together in a pleasant natural area. The image of these events transmits relaxed, recreational practice that is shared in a pleasant, natural environment that can be accessed easily. Those are the four types of sporting events that we consider to have a tourism impact. Next, we would like to differentiate their effects depending on the environment where they take place.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 1)

Events that take place in artificial and standardized contexts, for example

football, athletics, swimming, etc. Here, in Cyprus the priority and special grants are given to development of predominantly this type of sports. In accordance with a threeyear Action Plan (2005-08) in cooperation with the Cyprus Sports Organization proposals for improving and enriching of the sports (football, swimming, cyclingsecond “environmental group”, athletics) infrastructure is given; prioritization of these sports in relation to development prospects in Cyprus in the near future. 2) Sporting events that take place in natural and urban areas, which are used as sporting areas. For example, cycling and marathon. To the development of cycling (especially mountain biking) a special attention is given by CTO, as a sport that has a great potential for development. 3) In the last group we can include sports that take place in natural un-known areas such as sporting and informal gathering.

4.4.2 NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SPORTS TOURISM At the first World Conference of Sport and Tourism held back in 2001 in Barcelona, several negative effects of sports tourism activities on the tourism image were presented by Jean Penot, general inspector of youth and sports in France. 1) The first is the saturation of certain tourist sites when sporting events take place and the cohabitation between many different persons. For example, the cohabitation between tourists and supporters. 2) The second problem negatively effecting tourist image is the conflict between different users of the same facilities and natural spaces. Infrastructure is the main bottleneck of a sports event or a tourism development in Cyprus. The solution can be drawn from implementation of new forms of



Sports Tourism in Cyprus management and proper planning. Public authorities must play a key role in both cases, with a clear model of development in mind. 3) The third danger is the risk of burning out the image of the tourism site for nonsporting tourists. Initial idea of sports tourism development in Cyprus is to increase the number of visitors during shoulder season. There is “no risk of burning out the image” of Cyprus as a non-sport tourist site, on the other hand, it is an opportunity to diversify and strengthen as a quality destination. 4.4.3 CONCLUSION In the conclusion we want to be critical and present our understanding of sports tourism problematic in development. By conducting interviews at different organizations and institutions we received conclusion that is far from “unison” in efforts to develop sports tourism in Cyprus. After the literature research was done the prospects for successful sustainable and quality alternative tourism development, like sports tourism in Cyprus was obvious. The opportunity is realized by the government institutions, but unfortunately still is not reflected fully on the practice. Private sector does not receive any governmental assistance and the initiative is undertake on their own. There is indeed, “a confusion in who is responsible”- CSO officer. The problem the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Tourism (MOCTT) faces is in unification of the involved parts’ efforts and taking more initiative and responsibility decision making, providing monetary and any other mutual support between the government and private entrepreneurs, between CTO and CSO. “The strategy can be implemented only in synergy (exists when “return on investments of each division is greater than what the return would be if each division



Sports Tourism in Cyprus were an independent business”) between private sector and the government presented by CTO and CSO under the MOCTT guidance. In respect to Goold and Campbell, “Coordinated Strategy” is one the synergy implementation form that should be followed. It says, “aligning the business strategies of two or more business units may provide a corporation significant advantage by reducing interunit competition and developing a coordinated response to common competitors”. (T. Wheelen, J. Hunger, 2004) “Sport and tourism are activities with an enormous economic impact, which are capable of generating economic profits in countless ways. There must be given an opportunity for small and medium business to make up the economic base for the sector, though the rules of the game are directed by large conglomerates. Cooperation between the public and private sectors is important in both activities; important, as well, is to focus on a specific type of product and to be the most efficient at offering that product or to focus on a product line and try to add value so as to achieve market segmentation.” (T. Hinch, 2004) The clear thing is than according to the Porter’s Competitive Strategies, Cyprus needs to adopt the differentiation strategy. That is the ability “to provide unique and superior value to the buyer in terms of product quality, special features, or after-sale service.” (T. Wheelen, J. Hunger, 2004) In practice, the sports tourism development should be in concern to a limited number of sports facilities, upgrading them and constructing new; giving a new image to the tourism on the island; promoting and advertising holidays for new segments of tourists and enriching stay possibilities for loyal, becoming “better informed and active” visitors. In “recommendations” other opportunities and milestones are described.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 4.4.4 RECOMMENDATIONS As a result, for the development of sports tourism in Cyprus the following factors need to be considered. 

In concern to existing sports facilities – new forms of management and proper planning, in order to make access available for local and foreign teams and amateurs

Upgrading old and development (construction) of new sports facilities (in respect to the mentioned four kinds of sport, thus football fields, swimming pools, in-door centers, cycling paths, etc.)

Intensify the efforts for hosting more International and regional sport events, championships, competitions

Promotional and advertising via tour operators and agencies using marketing segmentation in respect to the kind and origins of the tourists. (priority markets)

Conducting conferences that can inform and educate interested entrepreneurs and people;

Marketing and advertising (mass-media and the Internet)

Development of a central reservations system for sports facilities at the CSO

Offering special sport packages for teams and organized groups

Decreasing hotel rates during winter in 3 and 4 star hotels

Conducting a research and creating a database for later analysis



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

4.5. ACTION PLAN FOR SPORTS TOURISM DEVELOPMENT Sports tourism constitutes a special form of tourism, which has become one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel and tourism industry thereby gaining in corresponding financial, social and cultural importance. Despite the fact that this is a relatively new area in the tourism market, this field is characterized by intense competition between destinations due to the huge prospects it presents. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO) sports tourism can be defined as individuals and/or groups of people who actively or passively participate (i.e. spectators) in competitive or recreational sport, whilst traveling to and/or staying outside their usual environment. A basic prerequisite for the development of this market is the provision of high quality and extensive services and infrastructure in various fields, such as the natural environment, communications network, accommodation, cultural heritage, sport facilities, and entertainment. Cyprus is a mature and developed tourism destination. Tourism on the island is among the most important sectors of the economy. It greatly contributes to the balance of payments and to GDP and has a positive impact on many other fields of the economy such as agriculture, industry, trade, services and transport. In 2004 income from tourism rose to CYP 988.000.000, while its contribution to GDP is estimated to be in the region of 14%. However, the current conditions that prevail in the international tourist sector, particularly the rise in competition with other tourist destinations, the increasing demands of today’s traveler who is more active and better informed that ever before,



Sports Tourism in Cyprus as well as other external and internal factors, have all led Cyprus Tourism Organization to draw up a Strategic Plan for Tourism up to 2010, in cooperation with all tourism partners from the private and public sector. The main aim of the Strategic Plan is to differentiate Cypriot tourist product and to reposition Cyprus as a quality and sustainable tourism destination. The CTO’s efforts to develop and promote special forms of tourism that will help achieve the strategy’s goals fall within this framework. Sports tourism is a specialized form of quality tourism which enables CTO to invest in a vast dynamic market and at the same time add value to the tourist product through its development, differentiation and upgrading. Cyprus has many possibilities and prospects for attracting sports tourism both as regards hosting international sports events and professional teams for training, as well as for attracting individuals and teams for recreational sporting activities. The main reasons for this are the excellent climatic conditions prevailing on the island all year round, the modern sports infrastructure and facilities, the high level of services, an efficient telecommunications systems and the high quality of tourist units. With the aim of further development and promoting sports tourism in Cyprus, the CTO has in 2003-04 drawn up a three-year Action Plan (2005-08) in co-operation with the Cyprus Sports Organization and other involved parties. The Action Plan includes: 

Evaluation of the existing situation in Cyprus

Prioritization of sports in relation to development prospects in Cyprus in the future

Proposals for improving and enriching the sports infrastructure with specific projects between 2005-07



Sports Tourism in Cyprus 

Proposals for improving the level of services provided and the professionalism of all parties involved

Development of a central reservations system for sports facilities at the CSO

Proposals for the holding of important international sporting events in Cyprus

Marketing Plan including promotional and public relations’ activities

The drawing up of the Action Plan coincided with the staging of the Olympic Games in Athens which proved to have a favorable effect on the development and promotion of Cyprus as a destination for sports tourism. The Action Plan has been approved by a Ministerial Committee made up of the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Minister of Education and the Minister of the Interior, thereby showing the active interest on the part of the government in this strategic sector. An important part of the Plan regards organization and holding of important sports events in Cyprus. Holding of international sporting events / meetings in Cyprus constitutes one of the most important aspects of the product strategy. These events favor high levels of financial activity in various fields of the economy mainly through the amounts spent by supporters and athletes. In addition these events constitute the most effective way for promoting Cyprus both as a sports and tourist destination at an international levels. Spectators and worldwide television audience who watch international sporting events offer a new momentum, advantage of which must be taken through the creation of preconditions for holding / hosting international meetings which would serve our main strategic aims for development sports tourism.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Various countries and cities, such as Ireland, Barcelona, Manchester, Turin and Brisbane, have used sporting events as a means for creating a separate tourist destination identity. The holding of international sports events would also contribute positively to the repositioning of Cyprus as a tourist destination by contributing greater prospects for recreational sports as well. However, in order to make this sector a dynamic means for promotion, a strategic approach must be followed as regards these events, the implementation of which must also involve all interested public and private parties. The aims of the strategy are: -

To attract international events of worldwide importance


To create new events that can generate revenue and worldwide media interest

CTO has become actively involved in this sector, while CSO postponed the implementation of the central biking system and excuses itself as an organization that strictly cares exclusively for local teams and athletes and as being a non-profit semigovernmental organization. Specifically, larger monetary provisions have been made in the CTO’s budget for 2006 for promoting such events, while at the same time a more aggressive policy in this field has been adopted in order to enable important international and worldwide sports events to be held in Cyprus. Cooperation with other organizations involved in the field both at home and abroad is also being promoted, such as local authorities, whose support is vital for the success of an event, regional tourism development bodies, sports federations and travel agencies, as well as companies specializing in organizing sporting events. In addition, CTO is in close cooperation with sports federations in Cyprus for their



Sports Tourism in Cyprus assistance in the international arena in attracting sports events and conferences in Cyprus. Financial support is also being given to organizations and other entities, which could bring and organize international sporting competitions and meeting in Cyprus on the basis of the policy and funding schemes, which have been approved by CTO and are in operation since last year. * We would like to thank Monica Liatiri - Tourist Officer in charge for Sports Tourism for the assistance in Action Plan delivery.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION 5.1. INTRODUCTION This chapter is about the conclusion of the literature review, methodology and the data analysis from the previous chapters of our project. In our research we have the following problem stated – how could CTO increase the number of tourists visiting Cyprus during low (shoulder) season. Our hypothesis was that successfully developed and implemented sports tourism could benefit not only the Cypriot tourism, but also the whole economy. Conducting international sports events in Cyprus, attracting various sport team to come on training here would influence tourists inflow for the whole year, might improve and diversify the image of Cyprus, could help to differentiate and thus successfully compete with other tourism destinations in the region.

5.2. CONCLUSION ABOUT EACH RESEARCH QUESTION In our research we have done ten interviews. After collection and analyzing of the secondary data material, conducting a number of interviews and tailoring the data we have collected to the “literature review” we can make the following conclusion. Cyprus possesses good background, in respect to the sports and infrastructure development, and a huge potential for the development of sports tourism. The need of repositioning of tourism product and maintaining facilities occupied during winter are understood and correct steps are being taken nowadays (e.g. the Action Plan, Strategic Tourism Development Plan). Unfortunately, there is still no synergy between interested sides, in particular CTO and CSO, in order to take more initiative, invest and take responsibility in this long-term project. Besides, according to the research,



Sports Tourism in Cyprus CTO is the only organization whose important steps can seriously change the statues quo in product Cyprus offers. Sports tourism emerged and is developing on the island nowadays. Unfortunately, the number of sport facilities and attention from the government limits its development. Mostly, its potential is realized by attracting “active leisure” tourists, and only partly professional sport teams.

5.3 CONCLUSION ABOUT THE RESEARCH PROBLEM Some marketing niches are already highly consolidated, such as major events for top-level athletes. At the other end of the scale, there are centers for tourists for whom sport is far from being the main purpose of trip, this being the case of the many hotels all over the island. Cyprus Tourism Organization need to take more active part in order to attract sport teams to come on a training here, saying this we mean, sports that are prioritized by the Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Tourism, CTO and CSO, thus to differentiate the product that is offered. There is obvious gap between these organizations, they need to work tightly and put maximum possible synergy in the direction of reestablishing Cyprus as a substantial tourism development. Many other cells should begin to fill up as tourism and sports practices become more extensive and the number of joint users multiplies, thus creating interesting business opportunities. Some opportunities are already being exploited, such as casual stays for amateur athletes and, from the standpoint of tourism products, these are starting to be projected as interesting business activities. If these potentials to be realized, right on time and appropriate decisions will be taken, Cyprus has got all the potential to become a competitive player in the region for sports tourism.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Many of the activities that can be considered from a strictly sport-oriented standpoint are one-off events for the destination and therefore require extremely careful planning and infrastructure development. The sport component doubtless represents a challenge for the tourism development, one that can be met exploiting the tourism component. Irrespective of whether we are dealing with professional or amateur sport, or sports practiced on a casual basis, it is clear that the importance of the tourism component is growing by the day. Each part of the marketing mix therefore must be considered from two complementary prospectives, sport and tourism, the aim being to come up with the best sport tourism mix for each case. With the passing of time, it is highly likely that the relationship between the two sectors will change and opportunities to strengthen ties and create a balance between the two will doubtless multiply. There is no doubt that the relationship between sport and tourism is not a static one. 5.4 IMPLICATION OF THEORY Plenty of theoretical material was used in the “literature review” chapter of the project. Especially in concern to the “sports tourism” issue, its definition, structure and ways of segmentation and implementation. The recommendation to the research topic were made upon the Porter’s Competitive Strategies theory, in particular, the differentiating strategy, mentioned in the Action Plan (2005-2008). 5.5. LIMITATIONS As a group of student assigned to deliver a Senior Project relied on the primary research analysis results, we encountered a major problem in collection of the data. Chosen a qualitative approach of survey, it was extremely difficult to arrange the appointments and to meet with managers of different organizations and institutions.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus In respect to the interviews and answers of the respondents, social desirability was one of the problems, because answers, especially of governmental representatives, were frequent sources of response bias when measuring attitudes and behaviour. They were trying to give more “positive” answers and, probably, to disguise some unsolved arguments, misunderstandings between parties involved in the process of “sports tourism” sector forming. Nevertheless, we think that we managed to receive “the most trustful” responses and the image of sports tourism development we perceived is right and realistic. We hope that our work will help to conceptualize the field and provide insights into sport tourism and is a valuable resource for sport tourism professionals.

5.6 FURTHER RESEARCH “This solid tourism sector contributes to resolving the problem of seasonality, increases revenue and promotes repeat business,” “Cyprus has a lot of possibilities and prospects to attract sports tourism, not only leisure activities, but also professional sports.” – said Mr. Lillikas, Cyprus, Tourism Minster at the international conference on sport tourism in Nicosia. We are looking forward the prospective that sports tourism could be one of the factors of substantial future growth of tourism in Cyprus. Therefore, we hope that our project would positively contribute to the development of this sector as an academic research that acquaint with the problematic and emphasize a vital need and potential of sustainable tourism; could inform our readers with Sports Tourism world. The future of the tourism lies in development of quality and sustainable tourism.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

BIBLIOGRAPHY and REFERENCES Simon Hudson (2003) “Sport and Adventure Tourism” pp.1-9 Thomas Hinch and James Higham (2004) “Sports Tourism Development” Thomas L.Wheelen, J.David Hunger, Ninth edition of “Strategic management and Business Policy”, Published by Prentice Hall , (2004) Joy Standeven, D.Phil and Paul DeKnop, “Sport Tourism” (1999), Published by Human Kinetics F. Vellas and C. Becherel , “International Tourism” (1995), p.347 Sport Tourism International Council Research Unit of Greece [online] [Accessed 5/04/2006] Siemon Smid, Petra Zwart (2002) Tourism on Cyprus [online] Available from: us-tourism.pdf [Accessed 23/03/2006] Ministry of Finance, Statistical Service [online] Available from: [Accessed 4/03/2006] Association of Cyprus Travel Agents [online] Available from: [Accessed 5/04/2006] Cyprus Mail e-newspaper archive [online] Available from: [Accessed 20/01/2006] Cyprus Mail e-newspaper archive [online] Available from: [Accessed 20/01/2006]



Sports Tourism in Cyprus Cyprus Mail e-newspaper archive [online] Available from: [Accessed 20/01/2006] Cyprus Mail e-newspaper archive [online] Available from: [Accessed 20/01/2006]

Trade Compliance Center [online] Available from: ountries/Cyprus/CountryCommercial/1999/CountryCommercial. html [Accessed 20/01/2006] Sport and Leisure in Paphos [online] Available from: [Accessed 15/12/2005] Cyprus Sport Organization [online] Available from: [Accessed 15/12/2005] Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus [online] Available from: _NewsView_en [Accessed 12/03/2005] Thalassa tourism “Sport in Cyprus” [online] Available from: [Accessed 9/03/2005] Cyprus Tourism Organization, Strategic Tourism Development Plan [online] Available from: [Accessed 5/04/2005] [Online encyclopedia] Available from: [Accessed 9/03/2005] Country’s profile, [online] Available from: Cyprus Advertiser – Russian Newspaper in Cyprus, issued weekly. On-line version in available on



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

Acknowledgements The authors of this project are extremely grateful to Mr. Marneros Stelios and Dr.






encouragement, support and kind help during writing this dissertation in BUS 410 – Senior Project. The authors would like to thank all the managers and respondents







information provided. Dmitry Aleinik would like to thank his parents and girlfriend







motivation during delivering this work. Without the support and help of everyone involved, this project could not have been completed.



Sports Tourism in Cyprus


FIGURE 1 Economic System (tourism)

Cultural system (sport)

Other subsystems, Sport facilities, Tourism media, Sports media

Subsystem: Suppliers, Destinations

Subsystem: Professional sports, Sports-oriented



Sports Tourism in Cyprus

Subsystem: Sports tourism

Subsystem: Tourism sport


Number of visitors

Tourism visitors for 2005, totaling 2.3 min. 350,000 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0
















number of visitors

British visitors (total 1.391.842) for 2005 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0 1









10 11 12

year period


Identify Broad Idea Present Findings


Select BUS410 – SENIOR PROJECT Topic

“How can sports tourism influence the shoulder seasonin the Republic of Cyprus”  

In this paper, we, Cyprus College graduate students, will explore and try to prove whether Sports Tourism is applicable to Cyprus and can in...

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