By Jean Christou
AYIA Napa has set its sights on the creation of a multi-purpose centre that would boost sports tourism to the area, the municipality said on Tuesday.
The project is still in its infancy and being hampered by the economic crisis but the municipality is thinking long-term and hopes to sign a deal soon with the government for land to build the multi-million centre, according to an official.
Earlier Tuesday Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos told the Cyprus News Agency said that currently there were 50 different football teams being hosted by hotels at the popular resort, attracted by the mild climate, which he said was ideal for winter training.
He mentioned football teams from Scandinavia, Russia, Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine.
The new centre, when it is eventually built, is aimed at attracting not just footballers but cyclists, athletes, motor-cross, basketball teams, indoor tennis and other sports, he said, adding that it was expected to cost “several hundred million euros”.
“This will allow more sports teams to come to Cyprus in winter for their training,” said Karousos. He said the plan was to either build the centre – also availing of EU funding – and bring in an investor or multiple investors later.
The mayor could not be reached for further details but an official at the municipality, Antonis Petinos, told the Cyprus Mail that they hoped to sign the land deal with the government soon but had no firm plans to start the construction just yet due to the current economic climate. “After the signing we will see what we will do,” he said. Petinos said it would ultimately be a political decision as to whether the municipality would seek outside investors, or build and run the centre itself. “All options are on the table,” he said.