CYPRUS:ELEA GOLF COURSE

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Elea Estate, Cyprus, opened in 2010 featuring an acclaimed Sir Nick Faldo designed golf course.

Elea Estate is one of the newest golf developments in the Cyprus. How has the first two years been?

The first two years have been very successful, although very hard work. At Elea, we set out to build a community where everyone feels at home; both our guests and our employees, and in the future, our residents. Furthermore, with a wonderful course designed by Sir Nick Faldo and an amazing clubhouse, we have set our standards really high. Our peers are the best international clubs in the world, and we are well on the way to be spoken about in the same glowing terms. (We just had our first club match…with Gleneagles.) Our welcome, our service culture, our ability to make every member and guest feel comfortable, our beautifully prepared golf course, our fabulous food, our excellent event facilities and most importantly, our fantastic staff, they all contribute to making Elea not only the premier club on the island but in the eastern Mediterranean.

 What are the prospects for golf in Cyprus?

The prospects are positive. There is a strategy in place to grow the game and the various parties involved are realising more and more each day the importance of golf to the economy.

 What challenges face Cyprus as an emerging golf destination, compared with more developed regions such as Spain, Portugal and Turkey?

The major challenge is establishing a golfing culture within all those involved in looking after our visitors. These other countries have spent enormous amounts of money promoting golf tourism so Cyprus is still a work in progress. However, whether at the airport, the taxis, the hotels or the restaurants; all need to be tuned in to the economic and cultural value of a golfer to Cyprus. In fact, is developing as we speak and eventually Cyprus will become an established destination. And with the friendliness of its people, we will make sure our guests return again and again.

 How important are other golf developments in Cyprus to Eléa Estate’s ongoing success?

All good developments are important to Elea’s ongoing success as most golfers visiting Cyprus want to play more than one course. (Although once they experience Elea, they don’t want to leave!) It’s all about standards and if the other golf developments deliver high standards, then the visiting golfer will be happy to return and to recommend Cyprus to a friend.

 What makes Cyprus an attractive golf destination?

Its people, the sun, the laid back way of life! And great golf clubs like Elea!

 From which markets do you expect to attract most visitors?

Mostly from Northern Europe but that is expanding. We have members and guests from all over the world. And now the Middle East, Eastern Europe and China are now showing an interest in coming to Cyprus to play golf.

 What’s Elea Estate outlook for the golf travel market for 2012?

It’s very tough, probably the toughest year I have ever experienced. But that is just not Elea, that is everywhere. However, Elea will cope because of what we offer. As I said, our standards are very high and as long as we keep developing them, our members and guests will always be happy.

 How have the current challenging global economic conditions affected Elea Estate?

It’s affected us in that we have to work even harder and smarter to attract guests. However, it’s all about what separates you from others. Our staff, our service, our golf course and our product are first class so if when visitors come here, we will do everything we can to allow them to enjoy themselves so they will come back.

 What has been the feedback from golfers visiting Elea Estate for the first time?

In the vast majority of visits, the feedback has been tremendous, especially when you consider most guests want more for their money nowadays. Moreover, we have won several awards such as the Best Golf Development in Europe and being voted as one of the top ten international golf destinations in the world, and that is testament to all who work at Elea and the hard work we have put in to establishing Elea as one of the best golf clubs in the world. Just as important for Elea is the growing interest in the soon to be Real Estate. I think our guests now realise that there is quality in all they touch at Elea and with that they have reassurance that if they buy a property, they will receive something just as good.

 Who is the typical visitor to Elea Estate?

People who want the best, without all the bling! Understated class is how Elea has been described. Whether that is for a corporate event, a wedding, a round of golf, buying a property or just sipping a cocktail on the terrace, we try and make sure we deliver the best.

 Elea Estate has invested in its Golf Academy. Have you found a strong requirement for tuition in Paphos?

Not at first but it is growing. We invested heavily in our state of the art facilities so we can cater for any golfer new or established in the game. And those who have thought about taking up the game are now coming to Elea; mostly because they know they will be looked after but also because we make learning golf fun. And we have also employed one of the best young coaches in the game, Chris Campbell. And just as important, we have had tour professionals and top amateurs based at Elea for their winter practice and conditioning.

 How important is it to offer high-quality Golf Academy facilities to visitors?

The Golf Academy is very important but no more so than other aspects of the business.

 Has your customer profile changed?

Not really, business is all about the people and all we want to do is make sure all our guests receive the same high standards of service.

 What about the golf travel market as a whole – will it continue to grow?

I think so. Golf in the Far East is about to explode and with that there will be millions of new golfers wanting to visit world class golf clubs.

Cyprus is a ‘Golf Heaven’ in the making. What must be the future plan?

The future plan or plans must be to develop golf both at home and abroad. And with that an understanding from all the ancillary businesses that golf can benefit Cyprus not only economically but also culturally, as well as increasing the profile of Cyprus in the corporate world. I think we are on the right path and with some improved coordination and a concerted joint effort by all involved Cyprus can become a Golfing Heaven.

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