Interview with Spiros Karavoulis the Director of Sportcamp

Vaccinations are on their way, training camps are making a comeback!

This year has certainly challenged everyone, especially the travel industry. But things are starting to look up as vaccinations are widely distributed. At Sports Abroad, the safety of our guests has always been paramount especially during and in the months following the covid pandemic. We will continue to work tirelessly with our facility providers and hoteliers to ensure the safety of all of our customers. Our interview with Spiros highlights the modern ways hoteliers are implementing safety measures. We hope this provides an idea of what travellers can expect to see in 2021. If you have any questions about travelling with your team, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Interview:

It is a great pleasure to introduce you to Spiros Karavoulis the Managing Director of Sportcamp in Loutraki, Greece. Sportcamp is one of the largest private Greek youth sports training facilities.  Sportcamp is conveniently located about an hour outside of Athens and offers all multisport training facilities on site.

Spiros Karavoulis

Director of Sportcamp

The Effect of Covid on the Greek Travel Industry

Sports Abroad: Thank you for taking this time to speak with us. Can you tell us a little bit about how Sportcamp and the Greek government has managed the pandemic so far? 

SPIROS KARAVOULIS: The Covid-19 pandemic is a global phenomenon which has greatly affected every country on earth. Greece took drastic measures when the percentage of positive incidence was very low. This has now established Greece as one of the safest destinations in the world to travel to in 2021. Like the UK, we’ve had two general lockdowns in 2020.  The numbers are already improving so we anticipate a gradual shift in any restrictive measures.

SA: Greece is such a beautiful country but the pandemic must have had an impact on your tourism industry.  Can you elaborate a bit more?

SK: Greece is a beautiful country and the Mediterranean climate during the summer has helped keep the Covid-19 levels low. Tourism is one of our major sources of revenue and has suffered significant losses this year but has received strong support from the state.

We estimate that with the administration of the vaccine, people’s confidence and psychology will change and from the spring or summer of 2021, we will return to 50% of the 2020 arrivals. We anticipate full recovery to pre-covid levels by the end of 2022. 

SA: You are the president of the local Loutraki Tourism Organization. How is the town coping with the pandemic and what measures does it have in place to welcome back international tourism? 

SK: Loutraki has stood very well all this time against Covid-19. Citizens have strictly followed government instructions, as well as health protocols. Furthermore, it is very important to point out that the positive tests that have been found in Loutraki since the spring until now are not more than 10! The city is ready to welcome back international tourism!! Finally, Loutraki has actually benefited from internal tourism, as the town is one of the favourite destinations for Athenians – as it’s only a short distance away! 

Covid Protections at Sportcamp

SA: As a sports facility provider with accommodation all on-site, what measures have you put in place at Sportcamp to ensure the safety of your visiting guests?

SK: We have followed all the health protocols and guidance provided by the Greek government. Indicatively, our staff and guests have complete relevant forms on arrival, measure their temperature, wear masks etc. 

We strictly follow the precautionary health measures at all facilities (including accommodation, training, dining, entertainment) placing the safety of our customers as a first priority. During 2020, we were allowed to operate for 4 months hosting more than 1,500 guests without having a single positive covid test.

SA: Our swimming facilities in the UK adhere to strict covid guidance set by Swim England.  What protocols do your swimming facilities follow and what do they entail? 

SK: All swimming pools in Greece follow the health protocols announced by the Greek Government.  (Some measures are similar to the UK and others more strict). For example, up to 8 people are allowed per lane to the 50m pool and 6 for the 25m., locker rooms are used exclusively by the team that is in the pool and most importantly, they need a Covid-19 negative test to enter the swimming pool.

Sportcamp During Lockdown

SA: We are sure that being the Managing Director of a sports training facility has many challenges. What do you enjoy the most about your job? 

SK: During the first lockdown, it was a bit depressing to see Sportcamp empty during a period that was normally full of young athletes training and having fun! 

Sportcamp is a leading company in Greece for youth sports camps, sports travel and sports events. The benefits to young athletes of sports camps are huge as they enjoy unique life experiences. These personal development opportunities through playing sports and living as a group in a natural setting.  When we were able to open again, I felt extremely pleased about having the privilege to offer young people to escape for some days from this harsh reality and enjoy sports and nature!

SA: We have visited Loutraki on a number of occasions and met your family, what have you and your family been doing to keep busy during the pandemic?

SK: We feel very lucky since we live in a seaside town with easy access to the beach, the mountains and nature giving us the opportunity for daily biking, jogging, trekking, swimming and water skiing!  We also had access to Sportcamp’s facilities so we’re able to play squash, tennis, beach volleyball, soccer, basketball and working out at the gym! Luckily, we are a sporty family, but I also have to admit that sometimes we had to push a bit more to get my kids away from the screens… 

Plans for 2021

SA: What are your plans at Sportcamp for 2021?

SK: We plan to commence our regular operation towards April-May. With our different events as well as hosting sports and school groups from Greece and abroad.  We keep our facilities at a good standard and prepare them for full operation from the beginning of the new year!  We also keep quite busy our Marketing Department investing in our post – covid communication materials! 

SA: Athens is a wonderful city to visit and as the President of the World Company Games Organising Committee, you must have been disappointed that the event couldn’t take place in 2020.  What challenges have you faced and what can competitors expect when they arrive in 2021? 

SK: The Games would have been a major event to take place in Athens since the 2004 Olympics and the 2011 Special Olympics. There will be over 6,000 participants competing in 28 sports and using the Olympic facilities! 

Following the cancellation of this 2020 event, our initial challenge was to take care of all the logistics for 3,500 participants who had already registered by March 2020.  Once the postponement for 2021 was decided, we’ve had to reschedule the whole event! The greatest satisfaction has been that less than 20% of the registered participants actually cancelled their places for next year.

They do have the option to re-register if they wish to. So, our aim is to offer our participants the greatest experience in Greece and to successfully implement one of the first (if not the first) large multi-sport events after the pandemic and prior to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics!

Final 5 Metres! 

5 quick-fire questions that tell us a little more about you….. Ok, take your marks, get set, GO….

  • What is your favourite holiday destination? Santorini island! 
  • What sports do you enjoy watching? Volleyball, Beach Volleyball, Tennis 
  • How long have you been in the travel industry? 30 years
  • What did you do to relax? Travel and Sports
  • How many languages do you speak?  3 Greek, English, French plus a few words in Russian!

Thank you, Spiros, for your insight and knowledge.  It’s great to hear about the measures you have put in place to ensure the safety of guests. We wish you all the very best for 2021.

Lourtraki Training Camps

For information about training camps in Loutraki please check out our website

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