TOBAGO hopes that sports tourism can help develop the island’s economy and attract major international water sporting events in the future.
During the opening ceremony and street parade of the Pan American Club Crew Championships on Thursday evening in Scarborough, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Kelvin Charles, in his feature address, said he found the idea to host such an event in Tobago as a perfect stepping stone for the island sport tourism.
He said, “There was no hesitation when we were asked to host this event. It is our view that Tobago has great potential for sports tourism and the island possesses a natural appeal for many water sports as well as many water sporting activities and initiatives.”
He added that sport tourism niche in Tobago has grown over the last 10 years with the staging of major events such as beach football, masters football, motor rallies, cycling classic, track and field, golf and sea to sea marathon.
“These have attracted many athletes of international acclaim which is testament to the fact that sport tourism is on the rise in Tobago. It is noteworthy to mention the influx of visitors as a result of this competition will enhance our growing rate of visitors to the destination.”
Charles stressed he has high hopes that sports tourism will become a fast-growing niche market which will ultimately develop the island’s economy.
Keith Dalip, president of the TT Dragon Boat Association, said Tobago was his first choice when he approached the Pan American Club Crew committee to discuss plans to stage the 2019 edition.
“Tobago is our special diamond in the Caribbean and it’s to our good fortune to have the THA as our partners in this venture.”
Franco Siu Chong, president of Pan American Dragon Boat Federation, described Tobago as the best place to host the competition. He said, “In Tobago the dragon boat competition will be in the background of sun, sand and sea in a country where we are known for our hospitality.”
President of the International Dragon Boat Federation Michael Thomas also commended the island for a warm welcome.
The event will feature over 1,000 visitors from over 20 countries, including 41 teams.