Tourism already constitutes one of the most significant economical activities worldwide. “Tour-ism has a final role in contemporary societies since it has recently become an important means of developing human relations (economical and cultural) during holidays” (Michalko Gabor, 2000).Its growth has been rapid during the second half of the twentieth century, Tourism develops in areas which have the potential to attract the interest of visitors, it can be energetic (like athletically tour-ism) or pathetic and depends more and more on the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the local resources and also the restrictions on its touristic and economic upgrade.
The intensification of touristic industry and its extension and growth, has brought about the dominant classic model of mass tourism which purpose is to provide relaxation in a comfortable and natural environment. Basic coordinates for this model is visitors entertainment and knowledge. The growth of this model contributes
significantly to the touristic and economic upgrade of many different areas all around the world.
At the present article we are making an attempt to examine to which extent the development of athletic tourism can contribute to the development of agro tourism and vice versa, with the ulterior purpose to solve the occupational problems of the local agricultural areas. “If the development of tour-ism is related with the increasing economical activities, then the behavior and the reactions by the local community will be especially positive in relation to this development.”(Singouridis E. & Fotiadis A. 2005)
1. ATHLETIC TOURISM
Tourism in comparison with athletic activities can together contribute to the development of new touristic destinations, or to the recovery of the ones that already exists. Statistical research shows that a rate between 23% -55% of the different countries at Europe travel with the intention to watch athletic organizations and they spent for that purpose a sensibly big amount of their salary., the Dutch reach 52%, while the French reach 23%. The tourists who belong to athletic tourism are classified into 3 categories depending on the extent of their involvement in the athletic activity. Each category has different needs and demands which have to be analyzed from the touristic side, and of course, they have to be satisfied so as to achieve the most complete response possible to the on sale touristic product in potential demand.
The professionals athletes: They have specific demands which have to be satisfied by the host destination such as well-found athletic facilities, medical care, special diet, transport and also various feasts and meetings with exalted persons. The “package” usually has the all inclusive form, with tours and with a specific programmer in general. They stay in four-star hotels or in luxurious hotels. The destination’s
climate is determinative for their journey. The demands of this category of athletes are quite high, but also that available holiday expense for consumption is quite high, which makes them an attractive share-part of the market.
The “amateur” athletes: The “amateur” athletes or those who love sports form a heterogeneous group with different characteristics, which is the largest tourist group of athletic tourism. We tend to classify them to “athletic tourism” together with the athletes, even though tourism is the basic travel motive for them. They usually ask for good athletic facilities and they sometimes want professional facilities in spite of the very high cost. Points which are regarded positive are the rendering of medical services, healthy diet, destination’s climate, and the possibility of a full
“package which includes several entertainment elements. They stay in hotels which vary between two and five stars depending on their financial standing.
The spectators: They are not interested in their active participation in the athletic organizations, they simply want to watch their favorite’s athletes and their often willing to travel quite far for this purpose because they want to support them psychologically. Tourism is an additional motive for them. They usually look for cheap holiday packages because most of them belong to young groups.
2. RURAL TOURISM
This dominant classic way of touristic development lurks risks such as the unbalanced development of areas which respond to the above-mentioned model. The unorthodox way of development, big tourism inflow at a rather small duration can cause overpopulation between the visitors and the local and mainly differentiations of the oncoming habits or the alienation of their life style.
Forms of touristic development which do not presuppose the aforementioned service package, can be applied in areas with massifs, rapid streams and natural lakes, traditional cultural feasts. These models of touristic development aim at the exploitation of local natural and cultural resources in combination with the harmonious coexistence of three often complementary activities; agricultural, touristic and athletic, which usually promote one another.
In the outline of Greek government policy Dimitris Avramopoulos has stated that: “Our determinative priority is the active growth of tourist activity during the whole year, 12-month Tourism. Our aim is the development of alternative tourism forms, such as agro tourism, conference tourism, ex-position tourism, athletic tourism, as well as cultural tourism.”
The basic contributor for the development of alternative tourism forms is the environment in its various forms, and the aim of an area’s economic recovery through the alternative touristy forms is the rendering to the interested consumers of tourist services which will surpass the standardized mass tourism models and will enable them to be in direct contact with the natural and cultural re-sources without commercializing or debasing them. Moreover it will provide the residents with an outlet for a productive life and development in harmony with nature and simultaneous communication with various social groups.
One of the answers to the above-mentioned tourist upgrade method of areas is the mild tourist development through alternative forms of tourism such as agro tourism and alternative athletic tour-ism. “Agro tourism considerably depends on environmental attractiveness and on healthy outdoor activity (athletic tourism), and therefore it is expected that tourist agents will be prompted to follow specific development practices” (Carisen, Getz, 2005). Through belonging to a more general planning of the area and having as a guideline the one which represents the following principles of alternative tourist it should be assured the protection and respect of natural environment which ensures its protection, during infrastructure as well as during the use of natural resources.
Alternative forms of tourism presuppose staying at lodgings friendly to the environment so as to be in harmony with the local architectural tradition, close to nature and familiarization with traditional local cuisine and local activities, restricted number of visitors so as to avoid the negative con-sequences of mass tourism and achieve better and of higher quality visitor’s service.
The alternative athletic activities which can be connected with sports are several, such as:
Mountaineering and mountain ski-it lasts during a long period and demands excellent physical condition and specialized knowledge. It entertains the athletes and it helps them in developing their skill, strength and endurance.
Climbing rocky areas and mountains with suitable rock relief, parachute flights, river kayak and rafting, mountain bike and motorcycle, riding, in its classic form, and also as accenting and passing through old paths.
These activities entertain and help athletes mainly by increasing athlete’s capabilities, athlete’s strength, and athlete’s maintenance. These activities can be com bined with passing through old paths that usually go across areas of natural beauty with interspersed cultural monuments. This helps the athlete feel the necessary calmness and tranquility providing physiotherapeutic and relaxing services to the
The combination of agro tourism with athletic tourism will either produce new employment posts, or it will support-maintain the already existent ones, and therefore it will safeguard and in-crease the local population’s incomes. Moreover it will improve considerably the life quality of those residents, since it will upgrade the infrastructures and the rendering of services (roads, transportation, Health Centers, etc.). To some specialized professionals who are associated with sports and athletes, it will provide them with the potential to develop their basic professional skills regarding their basic occupation. Even the classic professions which are not related now with agro tourism can acquire new dimensions, so as to differentiate and develop new touristy products of high added value. Psychologists e.g. can organize relaxation and meditation centers.
In order to achieve this aim there must be a collaborations with Local Authorities, public and private authorities and also with international and national agro tourism organizations with the ulterior purpose to show off the cultural characteristics and the solution of serious economic and social problems in the countryside.
- Michalko G. (2000): Changing Spatial Pattern Of Tourism In Hungary, Studies in Geography in Hungary 31, Geographical Research Inst. Has, Budapest 2000, pp. 241-256
- Getz Donald & Carisen Jack (2005): Family Business In Tourism: State of the Art, Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 32, Num. 1, 2005
- Edvard Singourindis & Anestis Fotiadis (2005). Socialpsychological influence of Agro tourism at local communities, Вестник Балтийской Педагогической Aкадемии, Вып. 63. – 2005