‘Patmos Revelation’ Event will Reveal Island’s Wonders – Interview with Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos
By Nikos Krinis
The municipality of the “sacred” island of the Dodecanese — Patmos — is getting ready to showcase the destination as one ideal for hosting sports tourism events when it launches the 1st “Patmos Revelation”.
A new sports tourism event in Greece, “Patmos Revelation” includes running and open water swimming races and will take place from June 30 to July 2. Organized by the Municipality of Patmos in cooperation with Active Media Group and the Region of the South Aegean, the 1st “Patmos Revelation” will host Greek Olympic and world champions, youngsters and adults, professional and amateur athletes.
Known as one of the world’s most historic and holy islands, Patmos is where St John the Theologian wrote the “Apocalypse”, one of the greatest chapters of Christianity. The Greek island is also a preferred pilgrimage site, as every year thousands of tourists visit the Monastery and the Cave of the Apocalypse – both declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The aim of the event is to make a “revelation” to the world: that sports tourism is an alternative choice for visitors of the island. The organizers intend to show that visitors to Patmos will get acquainted with a different and unprecedented experience, while enjoying the mystical atmosphere of the island.
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos speaks to GTP
GTP caught up with Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos who underlined the importance of the event for the promotion of the island as a sports tourism destination.
“Patmos island speaks for itself and sometimes we don’t even have to say or do anything about it… With ‘Patmos Revelation’ we aim to add one more choice for tourists and of course promote Greece abroad as a tourism destination… I suggest that every runner/swimmer that has never been to Patmos before, to dedicate some days to admire the natural beauty of the island and Patmos will “reveal” itself to them…”
- GTP: Patmos is a Greek island quite famous for its religious past, considering it is where Saint John the Theologian wrote the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse). Today the island is among the most popular religious destinations. How did the idea of promoting the island as a “sports tourism” destination come about?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: Patmos, as you well mentioned, has a great and enormous religious history, as it is the island in which Ioannis the Theologian lived in exile and wrote the “Apocalypse”, which is one of the greatest chapters of Christianity. The “Jerusalem of the Aegean”, as Patmos is known worldwide, is a heavy heritage of religion, as it has been declared “Sacred Island” by the Greek state. At the same time, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is part of the COESIMA network as one of the seven most important places of pilgrimage in Europe. On the other hand, our island is so beautiful and has many more things to offer. That’s why we thought of sports tourism. The green hills, the popular beaches with clear and turquoise waters and the wonderful natural beauty of the area invite you to experience additional activities and discover the alternative forms of tourism that the island can offer.
- GTP: How was the “Patmos Revelation” concept born and who is involved in its planning and implementation?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: We initially approached Active Media, a company that is focused on the sports tourism sector and has an experience from other similar awarded events. We wished to create an event that would combine the name of the island and would attract as many tourists as possible to do sports. “Patmos Revelation” is a high-level sports tourism event that includes a 15km and a 5km running race as well an open water swimming race (1 mile). The South Aegean Region supported the idea from the beginning and became a co-organizer. The unique running routes are designed and edited by the former marathon runner, holder of national best performance on the classical route, running coach and top director of All About Running, Nikos Polias, while the swimming route is designed by the Federal Technical Coach of Swimming Nikos Gemelos (coach with countless distinctions in the Olympic Games and World Championships in open water swimming). We have selected a qualitative team full of professionals that will bring us the best possible results in terms of planning and implementation.
- GTP: What should we expect at this year’s “Patmos Revelation”? What would you say is the biggest highlight of the event?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: You should expect a lot of enthusiasm and will from our side to organize an event that will stay in the mind of all athletes and visitors joining “Patmos Revelation” between June 30 and July 2. Of course our two main events — the running and the open water swimming — are the biggest highlights of “Patmos Revelation”. Swimmers will cover the distance of the 1 mile (1.6km) swimming route at Grikos bay. At the same time all participant runners will choose between routes of 5km and 15km. They will start from Skala with direction towards Netia. Moreover, we must highlight that the 15km route passes through two UNESCO World Heritage Sites near the historic center of Chora: Holy Monastery of St. John the Theologian and Sacred Cave of the Apocalypse.
- GTP: Considering that the event grows in popularity and attracts an increased number of participants, what more will the island need in terms of infrastructure and services?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: This is our main goal. To grow this event in popularity and attract as many tourists and participants as possible. Every year we will try to do our best and serve all attendants and athletes with the best possible way. As we grow we will continue with more strategic partners and sponsors to fulfill every need. Of course it would be great if we could also grow in terms of infrastructure, attract more investments on hotel groups in our island and add more ferry routes to serve the needs of our audience.
- GTP: This year the event will take place from June 30 to July 2, in the heart of the summer season. How would you convince runners or visitors to prolong their stay on the island once the event is over? What advice or suggestions (gastronomy, sights, beaches) would you give a runner that has never been to Patmos before?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: Patmos island speaks for itself and sometimes we don’t even have to say or do anything about it! Visitors of the island can enjoy the cave of the Apocalypse, the Castle-Monastery of St. John the Theologian, which is imposing on the top, the town of Chora, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, wonderful landscapes, dreamy seas and natural tranquility. We would suggest to every runner that has never been to Patmos before, to dedicate some days to admire the natural beauty of the island and Patmos will “reveal” itself to them. We are waiting for them to participate and meet an island, which is ready to embrace them.
- GTP: Due to the “Patmos Revelation”, Blue Star Ferries, one of the official sponsors of the event, is offering an extra route to Patmos from Piraeus to facilitate the travel of participants as well as visitors. In general, are you satisfied with the passenger shipping connection of Patmos with Piraeus and other nearby islands or are more routes needed?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: We are very satisfied with all connecting ferry routes and we expect them to increase in the next years. Summer always presents better traffic than all other months. The event has ensured special ferry routes through Blue Star Ferries to facilitate the audience and offer them direct access to the “sacred” island of the Dodecanese. All those attending “Patmos Revelation” will be able to travel with the safety and comfort of the top Greek shipping company. With an additional ferry route on Thursday (29/6) at 15:00, aiming to provide the best possible service, Blue Star Ferries offers a 50% discount on ferry tickets to the participant athletes, as well as a 30% discount to their escorts/family members and their vehicles to those wishing to visit the event and the island between June 26 to July 6.
- GTP: What other forms of tourism can visitors enjoy on Patmos?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: Apart from the religious tourism that the island is well-known for and the sports tourism that we trying to create with “Patmos Revelation”, other forms of alternative tourism have been developed in the recent years include the four festivals that take place every summer on our island, namely: Byzantine Music, Traditional Dances, Flavors and Tradition and Cinema.
- GTP: Do you believe the event can add to Greece’s appeal as a tourism destination?
Patmos Mayor Grigoris Stoikos: Patmos is an ideal destination for nature lovers thanks to its lace-like coastline, sheer cliffs and volcanic soil. By sea it has an easy access from Piraeus, Samos (catamaran), Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos and Leros as well as Syros in the Cyclades. The above mentioned Dodecanese islands have airports from where visitors can reach Patmos through regular ferry connections, especially during the summer season. Registrations for “Patmos Revelation” continue with undiminished interest as a lot of athletes from different places of Greece and abroad have already registered. With this event we aim to add one more choice to all tourists and of course promote Greece abroad as tourism destination.Press here for the detailed schedule of the “Patmos Revelation” event. To register, press here.
Tip: Blue Star Ferries is offering a 50% discount on ferry tickets to athletes participating in the “Patmos Revelation” event, as well as a 30% discount to their escorts/family members and their vehicles for stay on the island between June 26 to July 6.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is among the communication sponsors of the event.