St Kitts focuses on Cricket World Cup

The countdown is on!  It’s now less than one year before St. Kitts & Nevis hosts one of the first round groups for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. The St. Kitts & Nevis group matches will be played at Warner Park Stadium on St. Kitts from March 14 - 24, 2007, featuring South Africa, Scotland, Holland and the reigning World Cup champions from Australia.

The twin island Federation is preparing and building momentum for this competition with the completion of refurbishments and increased seating capacity at Warner Park Stadium in April 2006 and by hosting several competitions leading up to the ICC Event. The first major competitions will be the One Day International Cricket Match on Tuesday, May 23, 2006* and a Test Match from June 22 - 26, 2006, both between the West Indies and India.  Prior to that, several smaller-scale cricket matches will be held beginning with the Lancashire Cricket Club tour of St. Kitts & Nevis from March 20 - 30, 2006 and the St. Kitts Cricket Association One Day Competition on March 25 and 26 as well as April 3.
During a recent visit to Melbourne, Australia, Richard “Ricky” O. Skerritt, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism Sports and Culture for St. Kitts, visited Australia to meet with Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, updating him on the progress that the twin-island Federation has made in preparing for ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. 
“This is an historic event, not just for St. Kitts & Nevis but for the West Indies as a whole,” stated Minister Skerritt. “Hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will serve to raise interest and awareness throughout the globe for the sport as well as for our tourism product as we provide world class facilities, hospitality and service for the event.  We have been focusing on the development of our island’s infrastructure with the addition of more hotel rooms while building sports tourism as a niche market. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will show that St. Kitts & Nevis and the Caribbean as a whole have become world-class destinations for international sporting events.”
In addition to having a life-long passion for the sport of cricket, Minister Skerritt was the first full-time West Indies Cricket Team Manager from 2000-2004 prior to his ministerial appointment.  Since taking up political office, he has been instrumental in attracting the attention of his former international sporting colleagues to the impressive assets of St. Kitts & Nevis as a sports tourism destination.
St. Kitts & Nevis is the smallest nation to host ICC Cricket World Cup matches for 2007.  ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious sporting events and this is the first time ever that this event will be held in the West Indies.  The competition is expected to draw a potential global audience of 1.5 billion people worldwide to watch a total of 16 teams compete over a 47-day period in eight participating countries including St. Kitts & Nevis. St. Kitts & Nevis will be hosting South Africa, Scotland, Holland and the reigning champion team from Australia (numbers 5, 12, 16 and 1, respectively, in the world ranking) in the following schedule of matches:
? March 14 - Australia vs. Scotland
? March 16 - South Africa vs. Holland
? March 18 - Australia vs. Holland
? March 20 - South Africa vs. Scotland? March 22 - Scotland vs. Holland
? March 24 - Australia vs. South Africa
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 tournament officially begins on March 11, 2007, with an opening ceremony held Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica, and ends with a final match on April 28 at the Kensington Oval in Barbados to determine the World Cup champions.
Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  Originally populated by native Carib Indians, the island was colonized by the British in 1623 and gained its independence, in Federation with Nevis, in 1983.  It now offers visitors a wide variety of vacation activities including hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s sugar plantations, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches.  Guests can select from accommodations ranging from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels or resorts.