By Bejay Browne
PAPHOS is actively seeking to attract and expand golf tourism to the district, a move which will also help to prevent the phenomena of seasonality, according to officials.
Head of the Paphos regional board of tourism, Nasos Hadjigeorgiou , said that sports tourism,( under which umbrella golf falls,) is one of the ways in which interested parties are tackling the problem of seasonality, which is adversely affecting tourism.
“There is a common effort and a more aggressive attempt to promote the special experiences of Paphos, such as golf,” he said.
With that in mind, 50 specialist agents and companies from eight different countries, mostly across central Europe, which offer golfing holidays are currently in Paphos, to check out what the area has to offer. Europe has around 8 million golfers.
Hadjigeorgiou said that through a collaborative effort by tourism professionals, the four golf courses and hoteliers of the district, along with the support of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation- CTO and the regional board of tourism, the agents will see and experience Paphos golf first hand
He said: “As part of their stay in Paphos… guests will have the opportunity to experience the tourist infrastructure, to visit places of interest of the district, and more importantly, exercise ther talents at the four internationally renowned, high specifications golf courses in Paphos.”
The organisations involved in this move believe that extending hospitality to tourist operators and stakeholders from abroad, as well as the promotion of tourist packages, will contribute to the goal of establishing Paphos firmly as a golf destination. Numbers of golfing arrivals have seen an increase over recent years.
The tourism head said that the local tourism board considers further development of golf tourism and sports tourism in general as a high priority, and he added that this can be achieved by upgrading flights from countries which are sources of sports tourism, such as the Nordic countries and Ireland.
Stakeholders believe that the golf courses are a solution to seasonality issues concerning tourism in Cyprus, as many European golf courses are closed from October to March, due to poor weather.
According to a recent report in Politis newspaper, analysis if the sector showed that the island’s five golf courses brought in around 25,000 golfers out of a total number of tourist arrivals of almost 2.5 million last year.
It added that last year was one of the best years for golfing visitors to date, with 103,000 games played; an average of four games per arrival over a week-long period.