Hello Andrew, please tell us about your responsibilities at the Resort and your
interaction with sports.
My love for Aphrodite Hills Resort begun 17 years ago when I was responsible for setting up the Academy. I have been very fortunate in that I have grown within this company, moving to Head Professional, then into the operations before taking over golf in 2014. Just recently I was tasked with taking on all sports following the success of the European Tour Golf tournaments. A challenge I look forward to, as sport is a large part of my DNA. My role is primarily running the golf business as Golf Director with the added title of “Head of Sport” to develop all other sports activities across the Resort.
I will continue to put my energy and dedication into bringing more activities to the Resort. The focus is to awaken the Resort through the typically lower months with the strategy of extending the seasonality and in turn the operations within the Resort, to offer a larger variety of facilities throughout the year.
What plans do you have for future additional activities on the Resort?
We have been investing and developing the concept “Sports Destination” for many years and the future of the Resort seems to be very active.
Now we have Golf, Tennis, Padel Tennis, Soccer, Horse Riding, and the newly established cycling centre with our new partners Aspire Cycling. By becoming an official cycling station,new routes will be created and added on the Cyprus cycling map.
With golf, we are working closely with the PGA and the golf course architect, Cabel Robinson to expand the facilities with a new 6-hole par 3 course in Phase 1.
The designs are complete, and the work is already in progress with a view to opening in spring 2022. The par 3 course adds a new dimension to the golf, ideal for all short game work, distance control with the wedge play. It also gives us a facility for wedge fitting. In addition, we will plan a putting green to be created around the existing academy building which will be important for the later phases of putting fitting etc.
Phase 2 of the Academy development will incorporate indoor swing rooms, fully equipped with the latest technology for elite coaching and custom club fitting services. The proposal is for a 2-level academy building to house the professional staff and create a club fitting retail space. Phase 2 is currently under consideration and the official start date is not yet finalised. Once the project is completed the Resort is aiming to gain recognition from the PGA to brand the Academy as the first PGA National Academy and PGA National Academy Course in the region.
The final phase will be to see how we can improve the facilities at the far, grass end of the driving range, giving the range more length as required with today’s driver technology that seems to give players a few extra metres on their drives.
At the tennis, the new Padel Tennis is building in popularity, and we will continue to promote this and grow the business, the timing of opening with Covid was not ideal and put on hold a full and official launch. The 2 Padel courts are the 1 st and only ones in Cyprus. A new tennis professional will start with the academy in June as the demand for tennis lessons has increased through the lockdown periods. Furthermore, we will be again hosting the Tennis Europe under 14, from 22 nd until the 26 th of June. We will soon have information on future tennis camps and events.
In the Tennis Academy areas, we will be adding a basketball court, and we are considering various uses by creating multi court. This project should start in the summer once budget is finalised and approved.
The Football Team wisher to continue with the summer master academy that is if Covid restrictions allow it. As announced last year, each week the football academy will have renowned players involved with the program; this will be a very popular activity for the families that visit the Resort for their vacation.
The soccer team has already announced the Walking Football tournaments. Walking Football has become very popular over the past few years and maybe it is a good opportunity to consider a tournament between Eastern and Western Plateau as we have been doing in Golf.
The Soccer school also delivers the best birthday parties for soccer fan kids, by offering expert coaching for children and their group of friends.
We are now in the process of creating exciting sports events and will be able to announce details very soon. Just to share some of the excitement, during the Olympic Games (July-August) we will offer the opportunity to all guests to try various sports in very low-priced packages. Our aim as a Sports Destination, is to introduce sports and share the spirit of the Olympics with all our visitors. Tokyo 2021 Olympics will be screened at the Village Square. More about this action will be announced on social media and we will be sharing the information with our homeowners.
Walking, cycling, jogging, and hiking trails are being highly used by our visitors especially now with the cycling equipment easily available at the Village Square.
There are several other sports-oriented projects under discussion but will be shared on a later point.
How advanced are the plans/negotiations for future PGA Tours?
Following the immensely successful 2020 European Tour events, we are working towards finalising a 3-year agreement with the European Tour to host the “Cyprus Open” from 2022 – 2024. The European Tour loved our venue, all players and officials had nothing but positive praise for the quality of the facilities and service standards on offer. The exposure was massive. Although without spectators, this international event was broadcasted live on a world feed to 47 countries, the 19 hours of live coverage per event had a television reach of 735 million households. We had 105 players from 27 different nations compete. The exposure had huge media value. Allow me to repeat my gratitude for the valuable help of the volunteer owners. The success was a result of a great teamwork. We surely entered and marked the world golfing map with prestige and elegance. We are officially on the list of the golfers’ destinations around the world.
The company is fully committed to repeating the European Tour events. From 2022 the dynamics will change, we will have spectators, full hospitality will be offered to the celebrity players and the expectation will be higher both for ourselves and from our promoters and organisers.
The staging costs will increase dramatically and there is a serious financial commitment to consider. Together with the promotors we already in search of major sponsorships. A high level of sponsorship is vital to secure the events.
We must make sure that a 2022 event is even bigger and better, we are also aiming to increase the prize fund for the professionals to €1.5m and offer a full array of hospitality. The dates are 90% secured for the late part of the season, somewhere around the first week in November, this is an ideal period for exposure as the Tour is heading towards the final stages of the “Race to Dubai”, it will attract a strong field of golfers, and this will be very positive for the Resort. I hope over the coming months to confirm the details 100%.
What plans are in place for International Tennis/Cycling competitions?
The Junior Tennis Europe U14 tournament, attracts the top junior players from across Europe. We would love to work closely with the tennis federations to bring bigger tennis tournaments, we are already looking into running some futures events, these are professional events with prize money somewhere in the region of €25k.
There is a discussion about a future stadium court and facilities, this will help support bigger tennis happenings. It is not all about elite tennis though, we aim to reach and satisfy the recreational player.
The tennis academy Team run several mini tournaments amongst its members. Nicole and Wyn have put a great deal of time into this section and these happenings are key social tournaments that will work towards our vision of creating a bigger and better academy.
• Cycling – Aspire Cycling will continue to grow their business on the Resort, they are offering premier rental to everyone, and they will also develop a winter training program for cycling groups. Aspire Cycling are well established in Cyprus and offer a full range of services, together with support vehicles and guided tours both on and off road. The cycling is adding a new dimension to the Resort and will help to increase visitations through the shoulder months and winter months. We believe this strategy will support all the facilities at Aphrodite Hills and bring some additional life to the resort during what is normally described
as the low season. We will work with them over the coming months to establish a variety of cycling routes, these routes would be created to suit any standard of rider both on and off road, there are some beautiful mountain bike trails out the back of the resort and this is something we need to set up and promote.
Last month, on May 26 th , L’Etape by Tour de France has officially announced that the 2022 tournament is coming for the 1st time in Cyprus. We will be the hosting venue of this major event.
There is a positive outlook and the Resort Team, together with our owners will continue to work tirelessly to bring and support more events and activities. Our real vision over the coming years is to create a Sports Destination, and we will work hard to make this vision a reality. We must proceed with additional investments to enable our destination to meet high expectations and reach the highest quality.
Thank you very much Andrew, and we, the residents, wish you success in making our
resort a sports destination of choice.