The Importance Of Cricket World Cup 2007 To Antigua & Barbuda

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The Importance Of Cricket World Cup 2007 To Antigua & Barbuda

(With Focus on the Socio-Economic Benefits to Communities)

Rachel H. Collis

MBA (Tourism Management), BA (Modern Languages, History), ASB (Bus. Mgmt)

Research & Planning Department

Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation

Queen Elizabeth Highway

St John’s

Antigua, West Indies

THE IMPORTANCE OF CRICKET WORLD CUP 2007 TO ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

(With Focus on the Socio-economic Benefits to Communities)

It is estimated that in March 2007, 100,000 visitors will descend on the Caribbean to watch cricket and participate in what might be called the greatest event ever to come to our shores. No one knows for sure how much money will actually flow through the regional economies because of Cricket World Cup 2007, but it is certain that this will run into hundreds of millions of US dollars, substantially more than the regular tourist season will bring, since spending by the sports enthusiast accounts for more spending than the ordinary tourist in any one visit.

The following figures have been suggested – some US$250 million from ticket sales, merchandising, concessions, television rights, sponsorship, etc. Visitor spending on the major demands – accommodation, transportation, entertainment, food and beverage, souvenirs – will be about the same – US$250 million. One thing we all agree on is, provided things go according to plan, there will be room in these figures for Antigua & Barbuda to harvest its fair share. One of the major objectives of the International Cricket Council (ICC) is that any non-Caribbean entity awarded contracts through the competitive process, must develop programmes which will ensure that Caribbean companies and/or nationals benefit both economically and developmentally. As a result, Cricket Logistics 2007, which is the official ticketing agent and tour operator for CWC 2007, has, as a major stipulation, the maximizing of revenue for local communities in the host venues. Millions of dollars have been and continue to be invested by the 9 countries hosting matches, and even those that are scheduled to get warm-up matches, to meet tournament requirements such as the construction and renovation of stadiums, the expansion of airports, the rebuilding and construction of roads, improvement to hospital facilities, etc. Will all this effort and finance be worth it? Many are skeptical and feel that after the event, a cost-benefit analysis might show poor revenue gains. But then again, this is World Cup Cricket – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our Caribbean region to be seen around the world, at little or no promotion costs. The fact that even hurricane-ravaged Grenada is outlaying so much capital to host a Super 8 leg of World Cup instead of using the money to re-build the island should be proof that there is an expected windfall from hosting this mega-event.

OUR IMAGE

How does Antigua & Barbuda fit into all this?

Antigua is one of the 4 venues where the Super 8 stage of Cricket World Cup 2007 – 6 games over a period of 11 days – will be played. With a population of just 70,000 people, Antigua & Barbuda will be asked to host 35,000 visitors, or half of its population; overwhelming odds for any logistics planner.

Before, during and even after the event, Antigua will have to go out of its way to show visitors what we ourselves already know – that Antigua is a beautiful island with friendly, hospitable and industrious people; the island that produced some of cricket’s greats – the

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legendary Sir Vivian Richards, the mighty Andy Roberts, and stalwarts like Curtly Ambrose, Richie Richardson and Ridley Jacobs. When they seek to discover what makes Antigua so special, they must see a supporting infrastructure that feeds this talent pool – efficiently-run services, a clean and sustainable environment, a diversified tourism product, an investor-friendly business climate, a facilitating public service, a dynamic and pro-active private sector, proper health services, and the like. Antigua, its people, services and products will be on display for the whole wide world to see, and it is up to us to decide what sort of image we want to project. We will be called upon to deliver service and display attitudes which will earn our country a reputation that will guarantee present and future benefits and profit.

There will be 2.2 billion people watching Cricket World Cup 2007 on television. No amount of investment in advertising and marketing and sales can capture such an audience for Antigua & Barbuda. Some 150 representatives of the international media will be among us. Since the coverage they will give Antigua & Barbuda will be priceless, we will have to outreach ourselves to treat them in a special way. We can show them what real Antigua & Barbuda hospitality is like, and how polite and kind the people are, and how environmentally sound and breathtaking are our countryside and beaches. We will get the chance to show off our hotels, resorts and guest houses, and we can promote our unique cuisine.

Being seen on television around the world, having all these visitors come to watch the matches, will present a perfect marketing opportunity for our tourism industry. Cricket fans and visitors alike will want to see the famous Antiguan Recreation Grounds where Brian Lara wrote the West Indies and Antigua into the cricket history books by setting two batting world records, first in April 1994, scoring 375 runs, and again ten years later in 2004, when he broke his own record with his highest runs scored in a test match – 400 not out.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN CRICKET WORLD CUP 2007

The question is asked, what kind of benefits, if any, will Antigua & Barbuda reap from taking on such a gigantic task of hosting Cricket World Cup 2007?

The realization is that although the Sir Viv Richards Stadium is the match ground, Antigua & Barbuda will in fact be the venue. Therefore preparations must take a national and community approach. The task to get Antigua ready falls on everyone. The average international visitor is expected to spend US$200 per day on accommodation, meals, drink, transportation, entertainment and the like. The philosophy is that the benefits must accrue to as many people as possible.

A vast amount of tourism jobs is in small or medium-sized business, and are usually created in the more decentralized parts of the country. This helps to equalize the economic opportunities, and provides incentives for persons to remain in their community rather than move to the more developed and bustling parts, like the capital, in search of a dollar. In order to benefit from Cricket World Cup 2007, this “once in a lifetime” event; to develop solutions to the challenges which will come; to develop rural

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tourism attractions in rural communities, individuals must first come together to assess the impact that Cricket World Cup 2007 could have on their communities. This coming-together must include political and community leaders – from high-ranking government officials to grassroots organizers. Their leadership must prove to be dynamic and energetic, identifying the strengths of the community and building community consensus in order to find ways to best maximize the benefits the community can derive from this prestigious event. Without such leaders, all efforts will fail. The focus must be on putting together local organizing committees which will engage in wide-ranging discussions and public education programmes, with a view to taking advantage of the entrepreneurial activities that will develop around CWC 2007, and to identify what products the community has to offer that are marketable to visitors. Out of the process of coming together, the committee would be able to produce certain goals and objectives which would provide a clear direction for the community. These could include:

  • promoting development that is in harmony with the environment and the social lifestyle of the community;
  • promoting development that provides jobs and reduces dependency;
  • promoting cultural programmes and facilities which benefit both tourism and local social development;
  • encouraging local ownership and skills development in the management of tourism businesses;
  • encouraging long-term self-sufficiency of the community;

The community tourism strategy will need to co-ordinate the diversity of tourism services proposed, assess the needs for visitor accommodation, and promote the community with an assurance that there will be a welcome for all visitors. The latter will be a major challenge for the Community Organizing Committee, given the shortage of hospitality skills and required standards in the hospitality and catering sectors at the community level.

The Organizing Committee can set limits to manage any negative impacts which this sudden influx of visitors will bring to the community. These include overcrowding, noise pollution, litter, vandalism, and poor driving. The Committee can do an objective assessment of potential negative impacts and how these could be controlled. Visitor enjoyment can be maximized, and also local benefits, if a strategy is developed beforehand to curtail these negatives. In other words, through a holistic management approach, a community can reap the benefits from visitors coming to Antigua & Barbuda for Cricket World Cup 2007.

Visitors for Cricket World Cup 2007 can be welcomed in the community and at the same time the natural, cultural, and in some communities the archaeological resources, be safeguarded. Specific sites can be developed mainly for visitor use, thus leaving other areas untouched and undisturbed. This can result in controlled tourism growth, which can broaden the economic base in terms of employment and income, yet at the same time set acceptable parameters for development.

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Strengthening tourism at the community level will yield both short- and long-term benefits, and these benefits can be achieved by simple actions such as the economic diversification of the community’s major products. Such actions can result in the production of jobs in the community, which would lead to a greater measure of social stability, exemplified by projects such as holding a local sports league into which young people can be drawn with a view, not only of ensuring that they participate in wholesome sport and recreation activities, but also to enable leaders to identify talented players for further development. The broad context of such benefits is of course, urban renewal, integrated, sustainable rural development and even social crime prevention.

Participation in Cricket World Cup 2007 as a community can empower the people to be more aware of the value of their community assets – their culture, heritage, food and lifestyle. They can convert these into income-generating projects while offering a more diverse and worthwhile experience to their visitors. Every person in the community has to have a sense of ownership and responsibility, and must become a partner in the marketing, product development, environmental awareness and management of his community product. Everyone in the community must be convinced of the importance of building a legacy, of working together to ensure satisfaction with the longer-term benefits, as opposed to simply reaping the economic benefits of the actual event. The community must also bring the private sector on board early to lend credibility to the achievement of the goals set.

The areas where the community can benefit are many and varied.

Cricket World Cup 2007 visitors who choose to stay in a community will spend money on accommodation, food, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs and gifts, specialty clothing, day-to-day pharmaceuticals, tours, transportation, and minor activities. This spending will flow through the economy in the form of wages and salaries, tips, purchase of food, goods, materials and supplies for resale, repairs and maintenance, taxes, utilities, etc, all leading to the ultimate beneficiaries which will include the butcher, gardener, farmer, fisherman, repairman, seamstress, waiter/waitress, grocer, plumber, and the list goes on. That money will stay in the community and there will be little or no leakage of the economic benefits derived.

What fears might materialize?

Jamaica’s Finance Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, recently said that his Government was spending some US $105 million to host Cricket World Cup 2007, and would earn less than 10 per cent of that amount in direct income. Responding to this concern was Pat Francis, President of JAMPRO, Jamaica’s main investment promotion entity, who said that the World Cup was expected to generate US $700 million in long term revenue, in addition to the US$9 million from ticket sales, from the 20,000 visitors coming to Jamaica.

For Antigua & Barbuda, significant profits will only be realized if all the projected gains for tourism include a substantial investment by the private sector in the tourism infrastructure. The result will be a legacy of improvement especially in underdeveloped

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communities. Arguments could be made that such improvements will be realized in any case, and hosting Cricket World Cup 2007 may only speed up development.

There could be concerns raised of a cross-cultural negative impact on the community, for example, visitors not respecting the cultural way-of-life of the community.

Government’s involvement is also essential where capital-intensive facilities and guarantees are required. These factors put a considerable strain on public sector budgets, especially in countries with limited resources for development. Investment in such a grandiose project would need to be set against the need for health care, housing and education. For example, the Sir Viv Richards Stadium requires an immense investment, and while it is true that funding is provided by the Chinese Government, the overall maintenance and security costs during and following Cricket World Cup 2007, will be met by the local Government, and could prove quite formidable. There is also the fear that the stadium will be under-utilized following World Cup activity, especially given its distance from the capital city, St John’s.

Another fear that we all do not want to verbalize is that if the West Indies team were to lose before the Super 8 round, the loss to Antigua and Barbuda will deal a serious blow to continued interest and gate receipts for unsold games.

ACCOMMODATION

It has been said that Antigua has enough hotels, restaurants and even beaches for half a dozen Caribbean islands. This ample sector offers the opportunity for substantial benefit to and participation by small, micro and individual businesses. Along with existing accommodation, right now resorts, hotels, villas, luxury apartments, and guest houses are being built or renovated to house visitors. Skilled builders who live in the communities are involved in this construction process, and even some building materials are purchase from local hardware and building suppliers.

Not all visitors will want to stay in a hotel. Some might want to stay with the locals. It is anticipated that a great deal of our visitors will be returning Antiguans who have left for a long time and don’t have a family base to return to. They will need housing. We also have our Caribbean buddies who want to come to Antigua to witness the tournament. They too will need a place to stay. Whether returning resident, Caribbean citizen, or international visitor, they can all choose to stay in a home in the community and have a wonderful and authentic Antiguan experience. Many persons in the community who have spare bedrooms and want to offer these for accommodation, have been calling the Ministry of Tourism to register these rooms in the ICC Bed and Breakfast programme. Those who are adding to a present structure, or are building five or more bedrooms, can receive a generous package of concessions designed specifically for meeting the World Cup accommodation challenge, under the Cricket World Cup Accommodation Incentive Act 2005.

Events like Cricket World Cup 2007 require extensive accommodation provision not only for the players and traveling spectators, but also for the whole ‘sporting family’ of the international governing bodies, umpires and other officials. For Antigua, the hotel

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accommodation requirement for these officials is some 600 hotel rooms. Seeing that Cricket World Cup 2007 is occurring during the regular tourist season, the ICC would have already booked most of the available accommodation in the major hotels and resorts, leaving tour operators and independently travelling spectators to seek out alternate accommodation. To meet this need, local artisans who are skilled in plumbing, electronics, air-conditioning, tile laying, painting, landscaping and other related skills, can be put to work to renovate and construct suitable accommodation for these visitors. Even residents can do their part by coming together to help beautify their communities.

FOOD PRODUCTION

With visitors comes the need for food.

Providing food and water for thousands of people to satisfy this increased demand, while at the same time ensuring that our local population has a ready supply, can present a major undertaking, but also give rise to a host of opportunities. This will call for the adequate provision and timely distribution of supplies, and an assurance that there is satisfaction with the quality and choices available. Hosting the Super 8 will provide Antigua & Barbuda with the opportunity to showcase its people, products and services. It will present a chance to market some of the island’s agro-processed products, such as our famous Antigua Black Pineapple, to the international community. There are key eating spots and bars in all our towns and villages. We have to be thinking of beautifying these and improving on the presentation of menu items and the surroundings.

Farmers in the community who have the greatest potential to meet production targets must be identified early, and given the potential to sell significantly more produce as we seek to feed these large numbers of visitors. The producers of pork, poultry, lamb, milk, vegetables, root crops, herbs and spices, seasonings, local fruit, sauces, cut flowers, cane juice, and a host of other products, will need to come on board. Condiments, sauces, jams and jellies and health foods can also be made within the community for use and sale as souvenir samples.

Local fishermen must also become involved. The need for fish as an entree replacement, especially by vegetarian visitors, will necessitate that our local fishermen go out more often and increase their catch. More modern techniques and improvements in boating equipment and refrigeration storage must be addressed at an early stage.

OTHER SERVICES VISITORS WILL NEED

Communications

Apart from wanting to be feed and housed visitors will need to have access to the Internet, telephones, etc. A viable business option for persons right there in the community can be had through an investment in internet cafes, web hosting and maintenance services, access facilities through cable modems, search engines and

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systems which can connect service providers to potential customers staying in the community.

Souvenirs

A variety of souvenirs depicting Antigua & Barbuda can be manufactured. While it is true that there are restrictions on the use of the World Cup official logo on paraphernalia, apart from regular T-shirts, there can be specialized garments made from local raw materials, baskets, necklaces, bracelets, and other ornaments depicting this historic event on our soil. Samples of the national dress, and even massage oils, soaps and creams, can be made for sale. Local arts and crafts vendors will get their chance to display their goods to visitors. Even the local flora can provide visitors with an ‘authentic’ local souvenir which could develop into a viable market product. In other words, a bustling market can be developed right there in the community.

Transportation

The increase in visitors will see an increase in business for our taxi drivers, car rental companies and minibus operators. The local bus owners can come into their own by performing a complete overhaul of their buses, selecting a central part of the community as a bus depot, and setting up a fixed schedule and route which is advertised throughout the island. Imaginative ways can be used to improve the appearance of buses from the different communities, like adding route signs and graphic art on sides of buses.

The use of a rental car is an ideal way of discovering other villages and sites around Antigua & Barbuda. This would be a good business opportunity for the establishment of a community rental pool where rental vehicles are not only made available, but such additional services as procuring temporary driver’s licences for visitors are handled.

Restaurants & Bars

Antigua, it is said, has many restaurants to suit all pockets and tastes. This extends from the elegant dining in restaurants which offer haute cuisine from a menu of international choices, to dining options reflecting native Antiguan and West Indian dishes.

Antigua is well-known for its unique dining experience in its villages and communities, especially on weekends. Visitors must be encouraged to go into the communities and experience our cultural dishes, like pepperpot, ducana and fungi. Weekend is also time for eating fish – fried, grilled, or boiled – in an atmosphere that is as informal as it gets. Visitors can be invited to sit and share a fish meal, a drink and a joke with the locals. This is big business which can be organized to take place not only on the weekends, but throughout the duration of Cricket World Cup 2007. A mini fish festival can be organized, especially in communities like Urlings, where fishing is a major part of the economic life.

There will be an unprecedented increase in the volume of clientele for restaurants and bars, and communities must get ready to take advantage of this influx by sprucing up their businesses.

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Entertainment

Entertainment could be especially important for those visitors who may not have match tickets and would have a lot of time on their hands.

Much of the entertainment in Antigua takes place at resorts and hotels where there might be a live band with a vocalist for dinner, followed by dancing. Steel bands are also popular. There are hotels sufficiently close to and even within communities where visitors can go for an evening’s entertainment. The entertainment in the resorts and hotels is usually provided by local entertainers who draw their material from the rich cultural heritage of village life. Entertainment is a staple in all villages.

The idea is to keep visitors happy, entertained. Such activities like stilt-walking, folk-dancing and calypso can be easily staged in the villages for those who choose to stay there. Visitors can enjoy a game of warri, or even learn to play the game, and purchase a board to take back home; or they can attend village concerts which are usually staged in community or school halls. Many villages have their own steel bands or rustic orchestras. There will be no shortage of ideas and never a dull moment , even if being entertained means just sitting and relaxing, enjoying conversation and listening to the experienced ‘griots’ recount life in that village.

NEW BUSINESS IDEAS

In addition to the traditional and known entrepreneurial activities, there are smart persons who have come up with novel ways and bright ideas for making money. Getting ready for CWC 2007 can present the perfect opportunity for putting these ideas into practice. The Ministry of Tourism through its technical staff will provide information on and expose communities to business opportunities that can be explored or experimented with, such as hiking, which is still not well developed as a business activity, given the wealth of historical and natural treasures on both islands.

Sea View Farm Village is the centre for pottery made from local clay. Pottery is therefore the strength of the village. The community can improve on its marketing skills by carrying out such activities as setting up firing sessions where visitors can actually see the pottery-making process from the collection of the clay to the finished product. Visitors should even be allowed to try their hands at the process assisted by villagers specifically identified for this undertaking.

TRAINING

Training in various disciplines will be provided for those who are hosting visitors. Owners of establishments can be trained to help build their capacities, for example, they can be assisted in acquiring modern amenities, in building or renovating infrastructure on their premises, in acquiring the necessary insurance for the protection of visitors who choose to use these businesses. A fine example of how this can work is Seafood Friday in Anse-la-Raye in St Lucia. Families there were trained to use only fish as the food

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attraction to sell to visitors. Records show that visitors spend about $50 per person in Anse-la-Raye, thus giving the community great economic benefits.

Government will also provide knowledgeable personnel with the expertise to assist communities in formulating their strategy in addressing issues such as safety, quality assurance, pricing, product and skills development. Government can also assist in procuring technical staff which will advise on the diversification of produce supplied to hotels by local farmers, and the standard of work required from our local craftsmen.

Training will be required in services such as food preparation and handling, babysitting, hairdressing and nail salons, security and personal protection, and emergency first aid, services which can be had right there in the community.

Mobile food units, disposable utensils, facilities for garbage collection, folding chairs, tables, cutlery, in fact all the goods and services which surround the provision and distribution of food, and which can present great business opportunities, will also be needed. Suppliers in the community can fill these needs.

The training received in preparation for hosting Cricket World Cup 2007 will result in skills development which can reach beyond sport into lifetime employment.

Hiking

In the database of the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda, there are 349 recorded historical sites. 15 of these are in Barbuda.

In each village, each community in Antigua, there are historic and natural wonders, some yet to be explored. Visitors can choose to drive to most of these, or they can be guided there through scenic trails. Many villagers are presently certified tour guides and offer their services to hotel guests and visiting conservationists. There will be a need for more persons to provide tour-guiding services with the influx of visitors. Even though persons are familiar with their areas and the wonders that exist there, it will be important that these persons be trained to show them to visitors and to observe all the rules of safety of which hikers must become aware.

There will be visitors who are interest in historic buildings and artifacts. Many of these

are situated in communities and have become a familiar sight to villagers, who in many

cases, are not aware to their importance as sources of economic benefit to these

communities. Persons can be trained to recount the history of these relics, for example,

the Gunthorpes and Montpelier Sugar Factories and their importance in the history of

Antigua;  Fort James overlooking St John’s Harbour and Fort Barrington on the peninsula

at Deep Bay; and  Betty’s Hope Estate where there is a fully-restored sugar mill.

The trails leading to these provide the visitors with magnificent views of other areas of Antigua and must be articulated by the tour guide to capture the essence of the historic past.

There will be visitors who are interest in bird-watching and would want to become acquainted with the places where they can go birding. The tour guide who takes visitors to McKinnon’s Pond, Wallings Forest, the North Sound Islands or the Barbuda Lagoon

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must be able to, apart from identify the different birds by name and characteristics in a fairly knowledgeable and coherent manner, inspire confidence in the visitor that he is capable, especially where the rules of safety are concerned.

LASTING BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY

Looking beyond Cricket World Cup 2007, the community’s involvement in this mega-sporting event can influence its future pattern of development, in that the community can become energized and re-vitalized; e g, all drains in the community that were clogged for years and created an eyesore, and were cleared for Cricket World Cup 2007, can now be kept clear. The community will now be in a position to do this on a regular basis, having learnt from the experience. Villagers will see the economic and social benefits to be derived from having clean and pleasant surroundings, and will be able to continue and improve on their offer of a marketable product, namely their community.

Antigua’s success in hosting Super 8 can result in a legacy of national pride and unity. Regardless of how the West Indies cricket team fare, there will be a resurgence of the love for playing cricket among young people, which can result in more persons becoming involved in the sport, whether by playing, watching or administering the game. It can also foster the inter-village competitive spirit which will result in more competitions, a major part of cricket that is sadly lacking today.

The natural, cultural and physical assets of the village community will also receive a big boost, in that elements that once made that community unique, could be revived and put on show to lure visitors. The after-effects can lead to enrichment culturally, environmentally and socially, and provide a substantial improvement in the lives of the residents. It can help bring families together, bring openness and friendliness and peace and cooperation in that community.

A major element of Cricket World Cup 2007 will be the global exposure which Antigua

  • Barbuda will receive. It is imperative that the message received by the world be the right one – one which not only will be the national brand, but will convey a social agenda in addition to the traditional commercial or tourism elements. All communities must work to prevent negative branding and to ensure that the message is broadcast properly.

Cricket World Cup 2007 should not only leave communities with the tangible economic benefits, but even more, it should leave enhancement, and even innovative additions to the educational community life. These enhancements should be built into the national social and economic development plan as a whole, leaving a positive future long after the event. To put so many of the nation’s eggs in the Cricket World Cup 2007 basket could be seen as a risky proposition, but with the right strategic planning, the tangible benefits can be both significant and long-lasting. Let us look at some ways this could be achieved.

Perhaps the most important and enduring rewards involve infrastructural improvements such as new roads, buildings, etc. In preparation for the Barcelona Olympics in Spain in

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2000, over 50 years worth of infrastructure with a completely new airport, sewage system and telecommunications system were built in just 8 years. This new investment, including a new marina area and an improved cruise terminal in what was a very degenerated part of the city, has given Barcelona a more functional infrastructural system where none existed previously. The emphasis on urban regeneration has resulted in Barcelona becoming a leading short-break destination for European holidaymakers in recent years, and its accessibility through the growth of low-cost airlines has resulted in increased tourist numbers.

For the Sydney Olympics in 2004, additional tourism expenditure before and after the Games amounted to some £2.4 billion. The publicity which Sydney received prior to and after manifested itself in a growth in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market, with an estimated 200 major meetings taking place in the four-year period. In addition, infrastructural improvements included better transport and the provision of additional hotel accommodation, all clear benefits to the long-term tourism potential of Sydney and Australia, on the whole.

Closer to home, the St Lucia Jazz Festival and Dominica World Creole Festival are two examples of successful community enterprise. What started in St Lucia as simply a marketing event to boost tourism industry arrivals during a low peak period, has now developed into one of the top jazz festivals in the world. The Festival is a great marketplace for local vendors, contributing some US$14 million in visitor expenditures. St. Lucians involved in music, arts and craft and services are finding new and innovative ways to re-engineer their services and businesses in order to reap the economic benefits from the Jazz Festival. Dominica World Creole Festival brings in US$1.2 million. What is most significant is that this Festival, which is a celebration of the indigenous culture of Dominica, is helping to expand linkages between the cultural industries, the tourism sector and the wider economy.

These two festivals generate strong visitor demand from international and regional tourists, and create jobs for citizens in areas which previously were only developed for local participation and enjoyment.

Here in Antigua, even in the smallest of communities, new jobs can be created for Cricket World Cup 2007 for both the short- and long-term. One of the major benefits of hosting the Super 8 will be the immediate boost to tourism. Just think of the cash flow which tourist spending will inject into the local economy, stimulating the services sector before, during and after the event. In fact, it is anticipated that spending will begin way before the event. There are those visitors who will come in early to check out the place, or to secure their spots, mark out their watering-holes, favourite restaurants, etc, before the arrival of the large groups. Many will like what they see, and decide to give Antigua a second look after the event. And the much talked about ripple effect will be felt for years to come.

It is true that we are promising visitors an unforgettable experience in Antigua & Barbuda. The better the West Indies team does in the tournament, the better will be the

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returns on the investment made. While it is true that no one can control the outcome of the cricket, we can however, provide a cricket vacation experience for our visitors. Everything we invite them to participate in must be first-rate. Visitors must be provided with ample non-cricket activities including golf, sailing, tennis, horseback riding, cruises, musical events, a preview of our upcoming Carnival, and all the usual things for which tourists come to the island.

Building successful long-term benefits, or what is known in international sport as a legacy, will depend on how well communities are able to mobilize to meet the challenge. Visitors will want to experience Antiguan community life and hospitality. Providing them with this opportunity will help to build on the legacy. It will give authenticity to the Antiguan way of life, while creating a source of income for families in the community. By opening up communities as attractions with definable and achievable goals, tourism as a tool for development will build up not only the tourism industry, but the entire country. Communities can participate and share in the wealth of the tourism industry, giving the lie to the belief that only the rich can reap significant benefits from tourism.

Economic Benefits Derived from Sport ‘Posses’

Every year all over the world thousands of people travel great distances on a regular basis to watch sports and support their favourite teams and players. The ICC is encouraging Local Organizing Committees to reach out to hoteliers and official travel agents to ensure that they deliver enough packages for the fans from all over the world who want to come to support their team. Major sport organizers encourage this activity since it is of considerable economic significance. Most times it is regional, and brings benefits to host communities which might not otherwise have attracted such visitors who spend a lot of money on food, drink, souvenirs and also retail shopping. Areas in the community can be set up for activities which require very little infrastructure or capital investment but offer benefits not only to tourists, but also to local residents. Some initial outlay may have to be made for maintenance of facilities and visitor safety, but beyond this any costs would be relatively low. The great advantage is both locals and visitors can participate in sport and recreational activities which can give a boost to health and fitness and at the same time is low maintenance.

For most communities more immediate benefits would come from staging smaller and more local events along the lines of inter-community and even regional competitions. Many of these always attract a local and regional supporter following. In addition, community sports projects in community areas, especially deprived ones, are always a sure way of using sport as a means of development and national pride.

CONCLUSION

Over the next few months Antigua will be depending on partnering in its communities to make the Super 8 leg of Cricket World Cup 2007 the best ever in the 32 years of the history of the tournament. Regardless of our political complexion, preparation for this event has to be an ‘everybody’ undertaking. This will be a rare opportunity in the life of

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Antigua & Barbuda, and it requires all man jack to ‘get with the programme’, as Eddie Mello invites us! The investment that is being made in Cricket World Cup 2007 indicates that this is an investment in the future development of services, the infrastructure, and the people of Antigua & Barbuda.

A successful hosting of Cricket World Cup 2007 will provide a powerful impetus for more international federations to seek to host major events in our country. In the past, Government was asked to invest in sport on the basis of sentiment and as a way of keeping young people occupied. This can no longer be the case. Government investment in sport must also provide tangible returns that can be measured in terms of an improvement in the quality of life of the people. In short, that means that sport must contribute, amongst others, to creating jobs for the people, thus helping to relieve poverty in communities.

Already work is progressing smoothly and on time on the erection of the brand-new Sir Viv Richards Stadium at North Sound, and everywhere there are signs of new construction in the form of renovation to existing hospitality facilities and the erection of new ones. There is an increase in employment and a positive, feel-good spirit among Antiguans and Barbudans.

To successfully host Cricket World Cup 2007 will depend on all citizens.

EVERYONE OF US!

Rachel H. Collis

April 2006

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I hope we get to see Afghanistan at Sir Viv stadium with my main man Rashid khan, this dude can spin a ball and not shy with the bat either.

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