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Russian Athletics Federation Eyes Greece as Sports Tourism Destination

By Eleftheria Pantziou

While Greece is experiencing record-breaking visitor arrivals this year, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura is exploring ways to promote Greece as a sports and training destination.
Under this framework, Minister Kountoura and Deputy Minister for Sports Giοrgos Vasiliadis on Friday held a meeting in Athens with representatives of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).

During the meeting, the Russian Athletics Federation showed a high interest in Greece’s sports infrastructure and discussed the prospects of the country becoming a training destination for the Russian national teams.

While in Greece, the delegation — headed by vice president Yury Borzakobskiy and sports director Andrei Kruporushnikov — plans to visit the Olympic Stadium (OAKA) in Athens and sports facilities in Kalamata, Rhodes and Crete.

“We will visit Greece’s sports facilities to see whether the Russian national team can train and also participate in games. We believe that Rhodes and Crete have the appropriate infrastructure,” Kruporushnikov told reporters on Friday. He added that the weather in Greece in October, November, March and April is ideal for the Russian teams to train.

2017: Record year for Greek tourism

During the meeting, Minister Kountoura referred to the tourism ministry’s efforts to promote Greece as an attractive 365-day a year destination and said that 2017 will be a record year in terms of arrivals.

“September, October and November 2016 were the greatest months of all times in terms of arrivals. This year arrivals grew by 9 percent in September and October,” she said.

Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura

“We support the development of sports tourism, by providing our hospitality to the athletes, their families and the teams,” Kountoura added.

The Ministry and RusAF are also looking into ways of collaborating in anti-doping methods and practices.

“Greece has developed a very sophisticated anti-doping system, having adopted all the new WADA regulations; we can provide our know-how in this field,” Deputy Minister for Sports Giorgos Vasiliadis told reporters.

He also referred to efforts being made to upgrade Greece’s sports infrastructure. According to Vasiliadis, upgrade works, worth 4 million euros, are currently underway in various sports facilities around the country, including the Kaftatzoglio Stadium in Thessaloniki and stadiums in Ioannina, Trikala and Pylos.

The meeting took place within the framework of the Greece-Russia Year of Tourism 2017-18.


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