Ben Kilbey in LondonAs cricket fever sweeps the Barbados stand at World Travel Market, this year celebrating its 25 anniversary, the islands Minister of Tourism Hon. Noel Lynch has indicated how important the event will be for the island and the confidence of its people.
Talking to Caribbean Travel News Hon. Lynch said; “For us cricket is more then just a game - it has ingrained itself into the fabric of our society - it is like a religion in Barbados. The fact that we gave the world its greatest cricket player with Sir Garfield Sobers says it all - it’s all about how we look at the game. Cricket is incredibly important to Barbados, it is part of the national psyche.”
Barbados has been awarded the accolade of hosting the Cricket World Cup Final in 2007. To obtain the privilege of hosting one of, if not the most important dates in the Cricket calendar, the island was subjected to a rigorous series of checks. “Everything was put under the microscope in a 336 page book of requirements. This was broken down to some 24 different sectors, for example the standard of media facilities and the level of medical care available. It really was a through examination - and Barbados came out a good way ahead,” commented Christopher de Caires Chairman of Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.
There was a real buzz on the Barbados stand (CA3000) yesterday as West Indian cricket legend Sir. Garfield Sobers, who once historically hit six six’s in one over, helped in promoting the 2007 World Cup. Also on the Stand was Barbadian native and current West Indies player Courtney Brown. Talking of the World Cup Courtney said; “This is very important to the West Indian people - it is a great opportunity for the people to show what they are made of. It is a real good opportunity to put the Caribbean on the world stage.”
Hon. Lynch concluded that; “Our cricket players were the first ambassadors of Barbadian tourism - in the early days these men really put Barbados on the map.”
It is estimated that the Cricket World Cup will be watched by some 2 billion viewers globally. The television rights were sold for US$550 million.