Active Tourism Greece, a study


Leisure & Recreational Sporting Activities are boosting the development of Sports related Tourism in Greece, followed by Sporting Events and Sports Training purpose Travel Programs

There is plenty of leisure & recreational sporting activities but the ones with the bigger faculty to attract tourists in Greece are:

1) Under Water Sports, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling

2) Water/Sea Wind Sports, Wind Surfing, Kite Boarding, Sailing

3) Walking, Hiking, Trekking, Running

4) Cycling, Mountain Bike

5) Beach Sports, Beach Volley, Beach Handball, Beach Rackets, etc

Tourists in Greece during their vacations spend the most of their time at the beaches. Water sports stations are located at the beaches providing windsurfing, kite boarding and scuba diving. Beaches also host beach recreational sports like beach volley or beach rackets. The most of the vacation resorts and hotels are located next to the beaches. All above facts means that beaches are the most important places for the development of Sports related Tourism in Greece.

The natural habitat in Greece is mostly green and mountainous. Greece has the ability to offer quality hiking and cycling tours in a non urban but rural environment. The competitive factor for Greece is that the hiking and cycling routes/trails can include stops at archaeological sites and at the villages where you can taste the Greek cuisine.

The biggest advantage of Greece as a destination for sports related vacations/holidays/tours, is the Greek islands. At the most of the islands the tourists can ride a bicycle or walk around doing the sightseeing and exploring all the secret natural treasures.

At the Greek mainland there are plenty of routes for cycling or walking at sea side roads and at the mountain paths.

Goutzioupas Georgios (mr) – The writer of this Study

He graduated from the University of Physical Education and Sports. He has a diploma at Sports Management. Since 1995 he organizes sporting, cultural and entertainment events. Since 2004 he is writing studies and researches for Sports Tourism. Some of them are: “All Ways Tourism”, European program in cooperation to Sports Tourism Research Unit of Greece, 1997, University of Crete and “Athens Classic Marathon / Runners’ profile”, in cooperation to the Greek Athletics Federation/SEGAS, 2007/8/9. He has been working in hotels for three years (2000/1/2) at Halkidiki, Kos and Rhodes islands. He was the Venue Services Manager during the ATHENS 2004 Summer Olympic Games and during the ATHENS 2011 World Summer Special Olympics. He has worked at an advertising agency in Athens (2005), planning the promotion for tourism destinations. From 2006 till 2008 he was the marketing manager for the Athens Classic Marathon event and from 2009 till 2011 he has been the project manager for the Marathon EXPO in Athens. From 2010 till 2012 he worked as an advisor to some Travel Agencies in Athens, developing sports related incoming packages/programs. He works at present time for the biggest resort hotel complex in Greece, the Westin Costa Navarino, at Peloponnese region.

Contact the Writer: Tel. 0030 6988 586571, e-mail:

What is the definition of Sports Travel & Tourism?

The tours, the traveling, the vacations, of individuals or group of persons, including one night accommodation at a destination away from home place, related to the following motives:

  1. Participating in leisure and recreational sporting activities, offered by professional providers / companies in organized facilities or outdoors
  2. Watching or taking part in sporting events / races / tournaments / championships
  3. Participating in sports training purpose programs

(Goutzioupas Georgios, study «Sports Tourism, Facts in the Greece», 2006)

Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, Sport Events Congress 2008, Sport Tourism defined: ‘Any activity in which people are attracted to a particular location as a sport event participant, an event spectator, or to attend sport attractions or business meetings’.

Dr. David De Villiers, Deputy Secretary-General of World Tourism Organization:The concept “tourism sport refers to a tourism activity with sport as the attraction, while “sport-tourism” refers to «sport as the activity and tourism as the result» (SETE, 3rd Conference on Tourism and Development, Athens, Greece, 11th October 2004).

Why Sports Travel & Tourism is the fastest growing sector of tourism industry?

Sports Travel & Tourism combines the two most popular social activities, Sports and Tourism (traveling), attracting more sports travelers every year. Sports tourism gains economic, social and cultural importance. The stakeholders of travel and tourism business are always seeking for new forms, new thematic products, new marketing ideas, and new ways to boost the consumption of travel and tourism services. They did recognize early the power of Sports Travel & Tourism, investing money and capitals, in a way to develop more products, events, to equip hotels and resorts with sports facilities and services.

The main factors that support the growing of Sports Travel & Tourism sector (Gammon & Robinson, 1998) are:

  • The rising popularity of the national and the international sporting events / championships
  • More and more sporting events are organized successfully around the world.
  • The substantial contribution to human health ability that comes from the physical activities / sports activities. This is a world accepted perception nowadays.
  • Governmental authorities has recognized that sports is an important tool during the effort to bond different states/countries or even a useful tool in foreign policy actions.

The social profile of Sports Travelers

Some of the Sports Travelers are connected into sports as amateur or professional athletes. Others are keen to sports and healthy life style. All of them need to purchase sports equipment (shoes, bicycles, golf sticks, etc). Sports Travelers are watching sporting events on television or like spectators at the stadiums. They like traveling, they put attention on the quality of the services provided, and they care for their physical condition, the shape of their body, the healthy nutrition. Sports Travelers have a middle-high social economic status. They prefer the 5 stars hotels for their accommodation, those ones with Spa and Wellness services.

Sports Travelers – The Target Groups

  1. Professional Sporting Federations, Organizations, Associations, Teams, Clubs
  2. Amateur Sporting Federations, Organizations, Associations, Teams, Clubs
  3. Professional Athletes and Trainers
  4. Amateur Athletes and Trainers
  5. Members of Gyms, Health and Fitness Centers
  6. Students of Education Institutes, Universities and Schools
  7. People with active profile (they work out occasionally at the public parks)
  8. Members of Marine, Nautical and Sailing Clubs
  9. People heavy smokers and people with fat/weight problems who are following medical treatments that include body work out
  10. People with injury problems who are following medical treatments (like swimming) that include body work out, in order to strengthen their body
  11. Members of Military Schools, Army Soldiers, Policemen, Fire Department Personnel and other Public Protection Organizations members, who need to be fit
  12. People and families who like active holidays/vacations with entertainment sporting activities like beach games. People with an addiction to extreme sports and adrenaline
  13. Hospitals, Medical Centers and Institutions, Physiotherapy Centers, Health Centers
  14. NGOs focusing at health, physical activity, environment, Disable persons
  15. Customers of stores selling sporting products

Sports Travel & Tourism Stakeholders

  1. Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
  2. Thematic Sports Adventure Travel Agencies, Sport Leisure Holidays Agencies
  3. Thematic Parks with sports leisure and recreation services / games
  4. Companies that produce and distribute sport equipment
  5. Agencies of Sporting Events Tickets and Open Events Registrations
  6. Sport Management Companies, Companies promoting Outdoor Activities, like trekking, nature hiking, walking holidays, cycling tours, mountain ski vacations, etc
  7. Sporting Facilities, Stadiums, Gym centers, Water Sports Stations, etc
  8. Sporting Events / Races / Tournaments Organizing Companies and Bodies
  9. Sports Community Sites, Internet websites selling sport products and sport travel packages
  10. Hotels, Resorts, Camping Sites

There are two main factors that influence the opinion of which sporting activities match better to the Greek destinations. The first factor is which sporting activities can be organized in the special natural habitat, the environment, the geography and the landscape of Greece. The second factor is which sporting activities have the bigger demand from the international travel market and the most popular ones at the same time.

Underwater activities like scuba diving and snorkeling or wind water activities like wind surfing, kite boarding and sailing, are sporting activities that match to the Greek geography profile, which consisted by: The Greek Polynesia with about 100 medium or bigger islands inhabited and more or less 1000 virgin islets at the Aegean Archipelago and the Ionian Sea. The endless coast line and the countless beaches. The crystal blue and safe waters. The rich under water life.

All types of recreational activities by foot like walking/hiking/trekking/running or cycling at roads and trails in a non urban but natural environment, these are sporting activities that match to the Greek special natural habitat and the rural landscape, which consisted by: The green forests and mountain villages, rich flora and fauna. The numerous wonderful historical and cultural sites throughout the walking or cycling routes / trails. The local food products, well known for their rich nutrition value

Another group of recreational activities that match to the Greek touristic destinations is the Beach Sports like beach volley, beach rackets, beach handball, etc. They are crucial in a way to attract the sports travelers, because the beach sports give the entertainment to the sports travelers. After all, the beaches are the most important locations for the development of Sports Travel & Tourism in Greece.


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