International athletes and sports lovers in 2019 will have their sights set on Greece and particularly the area of Messinia in the Peloponnese, as the destination will host the prestigious challenging sports event IRONMAN, which takes place in various locations around the world.
With a history of 40 years, the IRONMAN is present in 55 countries, while its community consists of 1 million athletes and 5.5 million sports fans. Organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), the one-day event consists of a 4 km swimming race; a 180 km bicycle ride and a 42.20 km marathon run.
Greece on April 14, 2019, will host the half-IRONMAN- which includes half the distances of the original event – at Costa Navarino and its surrounding area.
“This is a significant opportunity for Greece to attract athletes of high social and financial status,” said Thanasis Papadimitriou, CEO of EYZHN Greece DMC, organizer of the event in Greece, during a press conference on Wednesday.
“We aim to attract 1,500 participants and an additional 3,500-4,000 people, who will generate revenue of 5 million euros. We also expect IRONMAN to promote Greece and Messinia to more than 2.5 million people worldwide,” he added.
Also present at the press conference was Nico Aeschimann, IRONMAN Regional Director of Southeastern Europe and Middle East, who spoke of Greece’s potential as host of the competition. “Everyday we are being approached by cities, regions, organizers… Greece was the perfect match to step into this market,” he said.
During the press conference Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) president Yiannis Retsos stressed the significance of thematic tourism in the sector’s growth. “In order to enrich our tourism product we need to connect tourism activity with other sectors of the economy, as this would offer greater value to our product; open new markets; extend the season and generate more revenue,” he underlined.
Furthermore, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Charalambos Karimalis referred to sports tourism as a way to extend the season. “Sports tourists dare, travel a lot and keep returning to the destinations they experienced unforgettable moments… Such significant initiatives promote our country as an attractive, safe destination offering authentic thematic experiences 365 days a year,” he underlined.
Registration for the IRONMAN 70.3 opens on May 28 on www.ironman.com/greece70.3
The event will be held under the auspices of GNTO with the support of the Region of the Peloponnese.