PANAYIOTIS KAMBOUROGLOU: Mr BLUE TEE

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With a Greek soul and German mind, Panayiotis Kambouroglou, CEO and Chairma of ICTS Hellas,  organiser of “Blue Tee-Maritime Golf Event” discusses about golf and the Greece he loves and recommends to everyone he meets.

What are you reading these days? Plato’s Symposium, sublime commented by the late I. Sikoutris.

What brought you to create the “BLUE TEE – The Maritime Golf Event”? We intend to create a strong cluster around golf and the Greek Shipping. To honour, thus, our maritime tradition. The actual concept of the event has been created by our sponsors, Theofilos Xanakoudis of Marshall Islands, Didier Bouttier of Bureau Veritas and Jamie Nairn of Ross Shipbrokers. Finally, it is imperative to mention Panos and Thanos Karatzias, the exceptional Pros of Glyfada Golf, without whom the event wouldn’t have materialised!

What is the purpose of the “BLU TEE – The Maritime Golf Event”? The need of the leaders of the Greek Shipping for networking and the desire to promote golf as the ultimate maritime sport in Greece.

How did you personally decide to take up golf? I started lessons when I was a student in Berlin, at the historic 27-hole Golf und Land Club Wannsee. Berlin was still divided then, so was, at that time, its sole golf course. 18 of the holes were for the use of the United States Military and the rest of us used the smaller 9-hole section; not very convenient, especially for a beginner like myself.

Do you agree with those who believe that with the right investments, Greece could become one of the most beautiful golf destinations in the Mediterranean?  I strongly believe that Greece is already an amazing golf destination. It is just not widely known as such abroad and perhaps not quite easily accessible yet.

Why is that not addressed, in your opinion? I believe that the Greek society has not realised the potential of this sport is for the country’s branding. Also, the Greeks and the young people in particular need to embrace this particular sport. We need to work together to promote the Greek courses internationally as alternative golfing destinations to Algarve in Portugal of Ibiza in Spain. Furthermore, there is a need for specialised travel agencies in Greece. If Marketing Greece takes on the relevant advertising campaign for 2017, aiming thus at the extension of the touristic season in Greece, that, I think, would be a great start. I even have a title to this campaign: Greece – The Divine Golf Destination!

Is Athens a Business and Leisure destination? Athens has been a timeless Business and Leisure destination, I’m very proud to see that in the past few years, Art has emerged equally!. The city remains the heart of world shipping industry, a unique tourist destination, the cradle of Western civilisation, the birthplace of Western philosophy and a crossroads between East and West. The Romans said Lux ex oriente and I believe wholehearted in that. The light that shines on Europe comes from Athens! It is only in very short time, Athens will regain its place amongst the top business metropoles of the world.

How can golf help in that? Golf is the ultimate sociable sport. It creates, therefore, the ideal conditions for collaborations and combining entrepreneurship with well being. This sport creates value to its fans. What makes the Glyfada course unique, is its position within the greater Athens urban area, easily accessible, surrounded by excellent hotels and marinas and, of course, the fact that it operates most of the year, under the magnificent Attica sky. Unique, indeed! We can all contribute so that we once again host international tournaments in Athens. Let’s not forget that golf is now an Olympic sport!

What does Business & Leisure mean to you? To be creative and happy. To exercise. To meet people that stimulate my brain and help me become a better man. To be able to compete with myself. To enjoy every moment of my life!

In your opinion, is the planning and strategy for the development of tourism in our country, appropriate? Absolutely! We have the know-how and a unique product. The whole year round. I simply believe that we should focus on the sustainable development of our product and the expansion of the tourist season. 365 days Greece! Golf must be in the centre of this strategy.

What is your vision and what’s your utopia?
My vision is a 7 starred Greece in infrastructure and services. My utopia? “I’ll manage to relax at some point..”!

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