Aiming to spread the tourist resources available to satisfy the different motivations tourists have when choosing a holiday destination, Promotur Turismo de Canarias has included a new discipline to the promotion strategy of the Canary Islands brand, Orienteering. It has been added to those already in the platform “Extremesphere Reserve”, with sports such as climbing, cycling, trailing, paragliding and mountain biking.
The origin of orienteering brings us back to Scandinavia. It’s very popular in northern countries, where there is a large number of people who do this sport. Nowadays, there are 71 countries affiliated to the International Federation and around eight million people who do this sport in the world. This is therefore a sport that can draw thousands of potential tourists to the islands.
We have included this new sport aiming to attract fans of orienteering racing, a discipline that suits the weather and conditions of the islands, all year round. Also, regarding infrastructures and the necessary services, such as permanent orienteering circuits, we already have them in the Canary Islands. In addition to holding events related to this sport that are becoming more popular each year and have more and more participants.
Having incorporated orienteering to the promotion strategy of the Canary Islands, will be done through several and varied communication actions to be developed in the future. The aim is to help the islands become a favourite holiday destination for tourists who wish to take up this sport or do it at the different difficulty levels and technical demands available.
Content available for those who love this sport
As a first step to promote the excellent conditions of the islands and how suitable they are for orienteering, Turismo de Canarias has created specific contents of this sport that can be seen in hellocanaryislands.com, Islas Canarias’ promotional web. They consist of seven maps, one per island. There are also photographs and texts highlighting the natural features of the area, a brief description of the environment and guidelines regarding technical aspects and difficulty levels to help everyone make the most of their experience. There are also suggestions with regard to other complementary activities.
The cartography has been made by professionals following the specific rules for this sport. They include details of the navigation elements that participants need. In future we will continue to add on new routes and challenges in order to offer orienteering racing fans a broad and varied range of ideas that will help them enjoy their favourite sport on the islands.
Map and compass, essential tools
Orienteering consists of a timed race in which participants use a map and a compass, specifically made for this purpose. These are key elements of this sport. A very precise and detailed cartography, with specific and uniform rules and symbols, marking a series of controls that people racing must go through. Participants aren’t aware of these controls before the race starts. The most important elements included in orienteering maps are the level curves, paths, forest areas, the different density of areas where there are plants, rocks and manmade objects, among others. Most areas in the cartography are natural enclaves, but it can also include urban areas.
This sport can be done with the whole family, and there are no age or fitness level limits. It combines different elements such as running, interpreting maps, decision-making, discovering, challenges… and at the same time, runners fully enjoy the rich diversity of the landscape of the Canary Islands. All of these features are what make this sport a huge attraction. Not only is it done outdoors in nature, but it also forces people to combine physical effort and the mental skills used to interpret a map.
From a military instruction method to a sport
Swedish military captain and scout Enest Killander, is considered the “father” of this discipline. He created it toward the end of the 19th Century when he realised that it was an efficient way to instruct soldiers as it made them more confident, helped them with self-control and increased their decision-making skills. It has been so successful that in 1942 it became a mandatory subject in education centres in Sweden. In 1961, the Orienteering International Federation was set up, and in 1977 it was recognised by the International Olympics Committee.
This sport got to Spain in 1972, and, ever since then, the number of people who do it hasn’t stopped growing. As well as standing, there are other types of orienteering such as mountain biking, adventure raid, skiing and trailing.