Tourism officials are looking to build on the island’s existing sports culture and tourism infrastructure to solidify its stake in the growing sports tourism niche.
Parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, made this disclosure last night during the official launch of the 2013 SAP 505 World Championship sailing event at the Yacht Club.
She said: “The sports tourism niche which we are aggressively pursuing is a key part of this tourism product. We recognise that sports events have the potential to drive high volumes of arrivals and room nights while at the same time, enhancing sports development and increasing community pride.”
Given this expectation, Senator Sandiford-Garner added that government’s vision for the country to become a sustainable, competitive world class destination year-round, would be hinged on: the delivery of several successful sports events; strengthening the linkages between the sports and tourism sectors; and developing packages of activities.She said the 505 event – the biggest yachting championship the island had ever hosted – was testimony to Barbados’ maturity as a sports destination.
“Barbados has evolved as an outstanding sports destination. In fact, we have over 60 sports disciplines on the island and we come from a long line of excellence in sports with the likes of the Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen, two-time Mr. Universe body building champion, Earl Maynard, bronze medallist, at the Sydney Olympics, Obadele Thompson, 110 metres hurdles champion in the 2009 World Championship, Ryan Brathwaite and champion jockey in Canada, Patrick Husbands,” Senator Sandiford-Garner stated.
The parliamentary secretary noted that sailing had steadily gained ground over the last six years and she thanked the sailing associations for their commitment to promoting the sport in Barbados.
The event which will be held just outside of Carlisle Bay, would be on a triangular course over an 11 to 13-mile stretch with each race lasting about an hour and a half. The competition began today. (JC/BGIS)