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May 20, 2019
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Costa Navarino invests in sports tourism aiming for the all-season operation

“Sports tourism can help and strengthen the 12-month running of our group, which is already open in mid-February and closes in late November”.

This was stated by Stefanos Theodoridis, vice president and CEO of TEMES, which, as it is known, is developing the Costa Navarino complex in Messinia and is now a shareholder of 51% of the Athens Hilton.

“Internationally, sport tourism exceeds 800 billion euros, and by 2023-2024 predictions say it will grow by 33% – 34%. It is the fastest-growing thematic branch of tourism and we have faith to it in TEMES. For this reason, we are also implementing the new investments for the two new golf courses (until 2021 the group will operate a total of four sports fields), and very soon we will invest substantial funds in tennis and football. The ultimate goal is for Costa Navarino to become a destination for all 12 months a year”, Mr. Theodoridis said yesterday at the presentation for the world-class “IRONMAN triathlon” competition at Costa Navarino and the wider area of Messinia in a month from now. “With the triathlon we go a step closer to our goal”, commented Theodoridis, adding that it is a sport that attracts the “middle and upper class. Indicative is the fact that there are triathletes from America who will travel to the Peloponnese with their family and their bike for a few hours’ run”.

On the occasion of the race, which will arrive for the first time in Greece by IQSports on Sunday, April 14, 2019, the wider area of Messinia will receive close to 5,000 visitors. The athletes alone for the biggest international triathlon to be held for the first time in our country are 1,500 athletes from 61 countries (680 from Greece, 162 from United Kingdom, 82 from USA, 65 from France, 59 from Germany, 54 from Italy and many others).

“If we could have 2,500 slots available, we would cover them,” the organizers said, with the Deputy Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Mr. Ioannis Goulou, adding that “sports tourism is a strategic priority, since it is a profile of tourists with high per capita expense, traveling frequently and looking for the whole tourist package from the natural beauty of the destination to the high-quality accommodation. In addition to the Marathon in Athens, which is the top event of sports tourism for the country, there is the organization of the Olympic Runs and Outer Gymnastics gala.

Regional Governor Petros Tatoulis also mentioned other initiatives for alternative tourism in the Peloponnese, pointing out that the area will have about 1,400 km of trails next month, aiming to overcome the 2,500 km at the end of 2019 across the Peloponnese. “We are also trying to build a climbing routs network, and we are already preparing the first diving park with all the specifications as planned.”

Thanassis Papadimitriou, CEO of ZEN GREECE and IQSports organizer said: “In addition to the high standards that the organization has ensured, IRONMAN 70.3 Greece Costa Navarino is very demanding combining skills and endurance, as it includes 1,900m swimming, 90 km bicycle and 21.1 km running continuously, without any breaks. The response of Greek and foreign athletes was impressive with the event being fully booked from the very first months after the announcement. Since the beginning of the year several of them – mainly Greek triathlete – visited the region for preparation”.

Mike Argyris, Race Director of the event, presented the impressive track record of IRONMAN 70.3 Greece, Costa Navarino that include 1,500 entries from 61 countries, 80% men, 20% women, average age 42, with the oldest male participant being 72 years and the older woman 65 years. The volunteers alone will be 700 volunteers. “The beautiful but demanding paths, I am sure they will create a unique and at the same time strong experience that confirms the name of the race”.

The IRONMAN run began 40 years ago in Hawaii. Today, it has established itself as the world’s leading triathlon event with a presence in more than 55 countries. It has loyal followers with more than 1,000,000 active athletes and 5,500,000 spectators all over the world.

Every year, 42 IRONMAN events are held in Europe, with more than 105,000 entries with a steady annual increase. It is the largest athletic platform in the world.

IRONMAN is a global brand whose value reaches $ 650 million. It belongs to the Chinese-owned Wanda Holding Company, owned by Zhanglin Wang, and is one of the most recognizable private sports brands in the world. There are 3 events, the main called IRONMAN (3.8 km swimming – 180 km cycling – 42.2 km running), the IRONMAN 70.3 (1.9 km swimming – 90 km cycling – 21.1 km running) and the 5i50 1.5 km of swimming – 40 km of cycling – 10 km of running.

Stefania Souki

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