Barbados Backing ‘Non-Traditional’ Sports like Sailing to Boost Sports Tourism

There used to be a great advertisement in Australia for Bacardi. The film showed different Caribbean islands, each with a different rum based cocktail, lots of partying and sunshine and good times. The closing line was truly memorable. “If you live on an Island, you drink Bacardi. Australia – the world’s biggest island.” Well it seems like if you are a tourism authority, you need to have a sailing event. Luckily for the sport, the ‘in thing’ is to host a major sailing event to drive an increase in tourism.

For some places, sailing is understood, but for others, even Caribbean islands, the sport is seen as “non-traditional”.

Barbados will host the Fireball International World Championship, this year, as part of a deliberate strategy by Government to boost sports tourism.

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy said:

“One has to look at the backdrop against which this is happening and the determination by Government that we need to have sports tourism not just to help us out of this recession in terms of driving more numbers to Barbados, but certainly something that can be expanded upon to truly take Barbados’ tourism to another level. You hear of sports tourism now in other areas – polo, lawn tennis and of course the whole marine sports… so this is really part of a deliberate strategy to try to broaden and deepen the whole concept of sports tourism in order to have it as a tool for developing our tourism generally.”

And, he added that it was important to understand that even some of the non-traditional sports, not previously embraced, from a tourism point of view, had now to be accepted.

The world class competition will be staged here for the first time, from April 24 to May 7 with major sponsorship from the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA). It will be sailed under the auspices of the Barbados Sailing Association (BSA), with the BYC as the host venue.

Meanwhile, President of the BSA, Penny McIntyre acknowledged that Fireball Barbados World’s 2010 was a fantastic way to begin “what might well become the best decade of sailing in Barbados”. She praised Government for recognising that Barbados had “one of the remarkable sailing venues in the world” and expressed the hope that the World Championships would be an inspiration for sailors, both young and old and that locals and visitors would “come out and support the spectacle, while putting Barbados on the world sailing map”.

Approximately 20 countries are expected to be represented at Fireball Barbados World’s 2010. Over 76 Fireball dinghies, with some 150 sailors, their families and friends are expected on the island for the tournament. Barbados will be represented by three teams captained by Colin Symes, Robert Povey and Robin Patterson.