Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon Olivia Grange, says Jamaica is making strides towards becoming the sports tourism capital of Latin America and Caribbean.
She was speaking at the launch of the 2010 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, at the Altamont Court Hotel, New Kingston, Wednesday (October 27).
Miss Grange said that, in addition to promoting established events such as the Reggae Marathon, her Ministry also leads the development of new events to bolster Brand Jamaica and provide new opportunities to earn.
As evidence of Jamaica’s strides in sports tourism, Miss Grange said that the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium was already fully booked for 2011.
Marketing Manager at PanCaribbean Bank, Ainsley Whyte (right), presents a sponsorship cheque to Race Director of the Reggae Marathon, Alfred Francis (left), while Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon Olivia Grange (second left), and Chairman of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association, Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook, look on, at the launch of the 2010 Reggae Marathon at the Altamont Court Hotel, New Kingston, Wednesday (October 27).
“We are booking a variety of events and activities and, very shortly, we will be signing an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Turnkey Productions, and we will announce a calendar of activities that include Turnkey Productions and other organisations, both local and overseas,” she said.
She stated the Ministry is also looking at opportunities to market Jamaica’s beaches for sports, such as beach volleyball. There are also ongoing discussions regarding baseball exhibition games being held here, and for the United States’ National Basketball Association (NBA) to host events in Jamaica, she disclosed.
In addition, she said that the Ministry is working towards better utilization of the country’s golf courses, a new thrust which has resulted in the Mojo 6 LPGA Golf Tournament being held in Jamaica in April.
“There is a major, major event where a well-known international figure celebrates his 80th birthday next year, and we are going to be hosting an event here. He is in the field of sports and he is going to come with celebrities, and we are going to stage events for which he is known,” she revealed.
Noting that the Reggae Marathon also helps to promote the island through sports, Miss Grange praised the organizers for staging the event each year, saying it was “an example of the kind of events that I would like to see more of”.
This is the 10th year that Jamdammers Running Club is staging the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K races, which kick off in Negril with registration on December 2, at the Couples Swept Away Sporting Complex.
Other events for the weekend include the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s World Best Pasta Party, at the same venue, as well as the Village Bash in the Negril town square on Friday December 3. The victory awards ceremony and beach party, during the race on Saturday, December 4, will be held at the Long Bay Beach Park.
Last year 1,200 persons from 21 countries participated in the events.