| May 2004
- The 'reciprocity of tourism' in athletic events - the case of windsurfing
By Achilleas E. Tzimas, Rhodes Windsurfing Academy
Achilles E. Tzimas has been involved in windsurfing for the past
20 years, as an athlete and as an instructor. He has been working
on the widespread promotion of the sport as an additional tourist
product, through Rhodes Windsurfing Academy (RWA) since 1992 and
he has helped organize both national and international athletic
windsurfing meetings on the island. As an athlete, he was part of
the Greek athletic delegation from 1992 up to 2001 and ranked 3rd
up to 7th position in the national championships and 14th up to
48th position in 1997 (worldwide ratings). Today he continues to
promote the sport within the context of an overall tourist provision
on Rhodes, by organizing training camps, providing facilities including
a complete athletic installation on Ialisos beach.
The classical model of Greek tourism, on which the island of Rhodes
was built, has served Greek tourism loyally for many decades. However,
it is becoming clear that there is a need to embellish the existing
tourist industry so that it may acquire additional features, which
will offer comparative advantages.
This 'addition' to the existing tourist industry aims to focus
on the creation of special substructures and infrastructures, the
improvement of existing facilities and attempts to project the particular
characteristics of diverse tourist areas. We have not taken full
advantage of promotion of sports for tourists or the organization
of athletic events, which apart from being a tourist attraction,
brings considerable economic benefits to the area.
The last two points, attraction and reciprocity of athletic events
in the field of tourism, are the points I wish to develop in today's
discussion, using windsurfing in Rhodes as an example.
Recently, much has been said about the promotion of alternative
forms of tourism, such as quality tourism and water tourism by utilizing
special programmes which have been developed as a solution to the
apparent lack of quality tourism we are witnessing today.
These are points, which RWA singled out as early as 1992 in the
form of suggestions and official reports, which were submitted to
those who hold the reins of the development of athletic tourism
in our country. We have already stated that islands such as Karpathos,
Rhodes, Cos, Naxos, Paros, Mykonos and Vasiliki in Lefkada, are
islands whose tourism depends to a certain extent on Windsurfing,
and therefore have the potential to take full advantage of athletic
It is essential that we promote new forms of quality tourism, such
as windsurfing, which has the added advantage of being already established
and set up in Rhodes. It is the quickest, most inexpensive form
of promotion for our islands and the Aegean in general.
In many other tourist destinations throughout the world, where
the model of HOLIDAY AND SPORT has been adopted, charter flights
to these destinations carry windsurfs and bicycles on board free
of charge. This facility is provided in the Canary Islands, Egypt
and the Caribbean and can also be implemented in the Greek Islands.
We must not forget that Rhodes is one of the five best spots for
Windsurfing and Sailing worldwide. We must all therefore seize the
opportunity to promote and project our area and our country in this
The promotion and advertising of these new forms of tourism should
be included in special international publications and in specialist
water-sport tourist exhibitions, such as Salon de Paris, London
Boat Show, B.O.O.T Dusseldorf, Ispo Munich etc. The development
of a country, which is hosting the Olympic games, particularly in
the fields of Sport and Tourism, begins 4 years before and finishes
4 years later. Greece has already lost the first 4 years, let us
not lose the next 4 years.
In view of the June 2004 International Windsurfing Championship
in Rhodes, we must stress that apart from being a great athletic
event it is also a great promotional opportunity for our country.
Pictures projecting the Greek element are being sent, via media
coverage of the event, throughout the world.
In the past, Professional Worldwide Championships (PWA) Funboard
(International Championship I.F.C.A. '92), (King of Rhodes '98 and
'99), two national championships in '98 and '99 and a Formula Grand
Prix in 2002 have all taken place on Rhodes. This year (2004) Rhodians
will welcome an international meeting of a new class of windsurfing,
known as Formula, which promises to be a future category in the
The International Formula Windsurfing Championship Grand Prix Race
will focus the attention of all those who are interested in the
sport and more.
The promotion of the race may also be a chance for spectators of
the events to take up the sport on one of the many surf spots on
- Ialisos: Ialisos in Trianta, is one of the best places on the
island for Freestyle, Course and Slalom. The northwesterly wind
creates Side Shore waves. The wind in the area is stable Side Shore
and the sea has safe wave patterns ranging from small to large.
- Prasonisi: When the wind blows in a north-westerly direction,
windsurfing here is amazing. The sea is always rough with perfect
wave formations for wave-riding fans. The Prasonisi cape has two
beaches, one, which is perfect for wave riding and the other, which
has a calm sea, and is ideal for free riding.
- Faliraki: It might not be the ideal spot for windsurfing in summer
but the conditions are completely different in winter. The southeasterly
and southerly winds affect the sea creating onshore waves. The area
is appropriate only in winter but can be enjoyed by windsurfers
using their own equipment. There are no facilities for the hiring
of equipment in winter.
The importance of the organization of the race, together with the
whole-hearted congratulations from the International Association
reciprocates by lengthening the tourist season in a low-season period
April - May, and helps to develop alternative, qualitative forms
of tourism. This reciprocity is fundamental in promoting a form
of tourism, which is enhanced with action and energy. Windsurfing
can supply this.
The reciprocity of windsurfing on Rhodes is already established
and there are four distinguishing features.
- Immediate reciprocity, no cost promotion, catering for specialist
tourist groups with specialist interests.
- Immediate reciprocity in tourist influx due to the arrival of
athletes and entourage and spectators.
- Indirect reciprocity due to the general promotion of the area
recommendations to friends and relatives, by spectators of the
- Indirect reciprocity due to the development of athletic-windsurf
tourism as an additional specialist product of the traditional
tourist industry in Rhodes, within the framework of promotion
of alternative forms of active tourism.
Athletic-windsurf has open-handedly offered tremendous benefits
to the island. The important athletic events which have been hosted
on Ialisos beach by Rhodes Windsurfing Academy (RWA)have created
one of the best, well-organized spots for fanatics of the sport.
Moreover, official findings have shown that it is an excellent form
of reciprocal tourism.
It has been noted that a large number of tourists visit our island
not only during athletic events but also at other periods, combining
Windsurfing with Vacations.
The International Formula Windsurf 2002 in Rhodes apart from being
a great success was also an important athletic happening. It produced
worldwide media coverage in the national and international press,
establishing Rhodes and Windsurfing throughout the world.
The International Association has acknowledged the potential and
experience that Rhodes has in organizing such meetings and has given
us 'the green light' to hold the
races in 2004 in Ialisos Rhodes, having already included the event
in the 1st tour of the Worldwide Championship, in spite of the interest
shown by ten (10) other candidate countries throughout the world.
The organization of this athletic event is also supported by bodies
who have shown their goodwill, by promising to contribute to the
realization of the 2004 races as they did in 2002. Among these are
the Ministry of the Aegean, the Periphery of South Aegean, the Ministry
of Tourism, the Municipality of Rhodes, the Municipality of Ialisos,
E.T.A, E.O.T (the Greek Organization of Tourism) and private sponsors.
It is clear that the huge cost of the race cannot be met without
a combined effort from all.
It should be noted that in a report from the President of the International
Association of Windsurfing (I.W.A) Ceri Williams he mentions the
successful organisation of the
races and for the first time proposals for the scheduling of competitions
and events up to 2008, have been voted for and passed, due to the
initiative taken by us.
A summary of the programme for 2004 - 2008 is as follows:
- 2004: Worldwide Formula Championship Ialisos Rhodes.
- 2005: Aegean Odyssey by Windsurf (a challenge for the
best athletes from every
country to take part in this event)
- 2006: International Championship in all categories of
Windsurf. The 2nd Windsurf
festival like the 1997 Perth festival in Australia where 1200
- 2007: In view of the Island Games competition in Rhodes
the Windsurf competition
to be a preliminary to the International Championship of 2007.
- 2008: Worldwide Formula Championship as in 2004.
I suggest that Rhodes become a point of attraction for Windsurf
and Sailing athletes
in general, and as a training area. Moreover, I propose that the
events be held on Rhodes on an annual basis up to the year 2008.
Finally, I propose that the appropriate authorities take action
to achieve these aims.
In support of Rhodes and Greece as the choice for other athletic
events, we must consider the 'fruits' and the benefits gained in
previous International Windsurfing Championships, which were held
in our country.
These events, which were supported by many other organizations,
brought considerable benefits to our area, such as the increase
of quality tourism and the international promotion of Ialisos and
especially the Island of Rhodes with all that this entails.
Naturally, these benefits were responsible for the strengthening
and promotion of the international athletic spirit in Rhodes and
our country in an arena (the sea), which is free. We do not need
to build gigantic training centres to accommodate this athletic
event. Most importantly, as an island we need this development which
can be combined with windsurfing in general.
A promotional tourist campaign combined with windsurfing could
be: 'Take the first boat southwards the Dodecanese Islands. To a
place where the Knights and fairytales meet the playful games of
the windsurfer, cosmopolitan Rhodes. One of the hottest spots in
the Greek and International windsurfing scene.'
Clearly, research and evaluation of new forms of athletic tourism,
which meet and compare with the benefits of Windsurfing, would be
of great value.
With the right programming and the combined effort of all, we can
present alternative forms of tourism within the framework of athletic
water tourism, which has immense
reciprocity, for us, our country and the Aegean.
We believe that the hosting of the races for a second year running
in Ialisos, Rhodes and their establishment as an institution on
our island is of outmost importance.
The preservation and support of this institution now and in the
future will bring benefits not only to Rhodes and the Aegean but
also to our country in general.
However, such an achievement can be brought about only through a
combined and sustained effort for all of those involved. On our
part, RWA and myself, as a member of the International Windsurfing
Association - Formula 2000 - 2004 will strive for the best.
With athletic greetings