Holidaymakers are being wooed with a new tourism product launched from Cyprus last month which combines alternative therapies and sailing around Greece and its scattered islands.
Marketed as ‘Sailing Therapy’, the initiative falls under the coming together of varying professional partners who contribute to the alternative packages.
Travel Pass in Nicosia has always concentrated on providing tailor-made holidays to their niche clientele, and it is the expertise of sailing enthusiast George Liassides, sailing instructor Marianna Kyriakides and sociologist Katerina Terzopoulou that the unique recreation opportunity came to life.
Upgrading and coming up with new products every year is any travel agent’s trump card. “We had seen that sailing is a product which is new for the Cypriot market and that it’s attractive to people. We began thinking about how you can make this as a holiday,” said Marcella Loucaidou – Pericleous, managing director of Travel Pass.
“Sailing is therapeutic in itself because you’re outdoors, you’re in the sea, you clear your mind and you’re more receptive to things,” said Pericleous.
She said the therapy programme can take place on board the boat or on land once anchored.
Currently trips take off from Greece, with flights out of Cyprus being taken care of within offers and although Pericleous estimates that there is potential for such holidays to begin from Cyprus in the future, the choices Greece offers with regards to areas to explore and islands to visit is perhaps matchless.
“There are closer distances to be covered, and there are closer distances to cover. Aegina, Poros, Hydra for example are much closer to each other as opposed to positions we have here in Cyprus,” says Pericleous.
As such ‘Sailing Therapy’ falls into three programmes, Body and Mind, Just Sailing and Wellness which can accommodate individuals or groups of people with the potential of selecting what kind of yacht one wants to travel on; a motor yacht, a sailing yacht or a motor sailor. Programmes are then accommodated to the needs of clients, whether this be counselling, consultative therapy, stress management, team building, yoga, therapeutic massage or outdoor activities to name a few, programmes take place on the sailing boat but also in different places on arrival.
“If it’s a yoga programme for example you can have an outdoor yoga session on an isolated beach,” said Pericleous.
“We did a treasure hunt in Hydra where we closed off the whole island and it’s used for corporate, teambuilding programmes.”
And the difference in any of the programmes offered, even that of the Just Sailing programme “is that it is a complete travel product in the sense that air tickets from Cyprus are organised, airport transfers to the boat are taken care of and we take on all the supplies on board, such as water, food, fuelling etc. We provide the safe adventure with your own skipper and hostess which will make you feel confident and guide you the way, tell you about the weather forecast and so on”.
Seasonality for such endeavours falls between the months of April to the end of September and while Pericleous admits that Cypriots are late bookers, she’s optimistic about the new product.
“It’s not an expensive thing to do. It’s a new product and it’s a combination of having your vacations with that little extra thing.
“I don’t see any reason for it not to work. I’ve been to international fairs and I know the products coming up. To tell you the truth I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Even our Italian agent that deal with sailing and provide us with sailing itineraries don’t have such a service, they have the standard package that we all have in our minds; you just hire a boat and you’re on your own,” said Pericleous.
More information can be found on www.sailing-therapy.com