October 30, 2020

Youth tournaments proven to boost Cayman Islands economy

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Moses KirkconnelIn addition to the focus on player development, the CONCACAF Under-15 Championships provide a case study in the potential of sports tourism to boost the tourism sector of CONCACAF member associations.

For example, CONCACAF youth tournaments and events, hosted in the Cayman Islands over the past three years, have injected more than 20 million dollars into the country’s economy, which is significant and important, especially for the hospitality industry during the slow tourism period.

The Cayman Islands Government has been very supportive of CONCACAF’s initiatives, injecting millions of dollars in infrastructure development and renovation in order to ensure world class facilities. “From a tourism perspective, CONCACAF has had a tremendous impact on our Islands, and the benefits it brings can be seen on many levels,” said Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Deputy Premier and Minister for District Administration, Tourism & Transport. “For example, bringing almost 1000 incremental visitors outside of the conventional high season boosts stay-over arrivals and drives a corresponding increase in the demand for services. Funds from CONCACAF stimulate the economy and trickle down to a full spectrum of businesses, ranging from large hotels and accommodations providers to small local restaurants and transportation service providers.”

Feedback from business owners has indicated that smaller businesses find it difficult to benefit from larger scale events, but that has not been the experience with CONCACAF tournaments and events. I, therefore, welcome the news that more teams will be coming to our Islands this summer and look forward to welcoming the under-15 Boys’ tournament to our shores,” add Mr. Kirkconnell.

For hotels on the islands, this is a major plus, at a time of the year when many rooms remain vacant. For past tournaments hosted by CONCACAF, all available hotel rooms have been filled to capacity. Mr. Enrique Tasende, General Manager of the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, reiterated this. “We are proud to be hosting a CONCACAF’s youth tournament for the third year in the row. As with the past two years, the tournament will bring great exposure to the Cayman Islands and will have a positive impact on the country’s economy, as well as promoting tourism during the slower summer months. We look forward to partnering with CONCACAF again for what is certain to be another successful football tournament for their junior players.”

The Public Works Department, along with departments in the Ministry of Sports, have been instrumental in preparing stadiums for competition. Through improvements to fields and stadiums — especially the completion of the stadium in Cayman Brac – Cayman’s youth and football teams have benefited significantly.

“At a national level, the Cayman Islands government is supportive of diversifying our tourism sector and has significantly invested in our sporting facilities to enhance our Islands ability to attract sports tourism opportunities. Hosting these acclaimed championships in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac is in line with this objective and will help to build awareness of the Cayman Islands as a viable sports tourism destination in international circles,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

The tournaments have also boosted Cayman’s telecommunications capabilities within and around tournament stadia. Bill McCabe, CEO LIME Cayman Islands, said, “We are delighted to sponsor the last CONCACAF tournament and are encouraged to see sports tourism continue to grow in the Cayman Islands. Our business is about connecting people. Through this sponsorship and our multi-million dollar investments in our mobile and broadband networks, we provide the services that allow family, friends and fans to be a part of these events no matter where they are.”

Managing Director of a local transportation company, Mr. Kenrick Webster, also supports the growth of sports tourism in Cayman. “Our tourism product is made up of many different facets that complement our entire economy. When we embrace these youth tournaments and distribute the opportunities and benefits , it open doors of opportunity to everyone. I can truly say that the hosting of youth tournaments have made a significant impact on the Cayman Islands’ economy, and I will continue to support CONCACAF’s initiatives.”

Tournament partners continue to be critical in growing Cayman as a world class sports destination. Since mid-2013, Cayman has hosted the inaugural Boys’ Under 15 Championship, the CONCACAF Sports Summit; the Women’s Under 20 World Cup Qualifiers and the inaugural Girls’ Under 15 Championship. In August 2015, Cayman will once again host the CONCACAF Boys’ Under 15 Championship, with the participation of 34 teams, making it the largest tournament played in the CONCACAF region.

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