St Kitts has a case of cricket fever

Influenced by its British heritage and
history, the island of St. Kitts is fast emerging as a haven for a sport
is just beginning to capture attention in the US -
Cricket. In fact, the sport is
such an integral part of the island’s culture that a national holiday is
when there is an important international match held on island. 

Perhaps even more dedicated than Americans
are to baseball or football, Kittitians are fiercely devoted to their
Cricket.  So much so that, when it came time for
Caribbean nations to bid for the opportunity to host matches for the ICC
(International Cricket Council) Cricket World
Cup 2007,
the smallest independent Caribbean
country was
eager to secure its place in this historic competition.
This would be the first time the World Cup
would be held in the Caribbean as well as the first time that St. Kitts
& Nevis would host such a major
international event.

In an
overwhelming display of national pride, resourcefulness and determination,
the enthusiastic
government and people of St. Kitts whole-heartedly embraced the challenge of
bringing the island’s infrastructure up to the level necessary to host such a
large scale, high-profile event. Their coordinated, concerted efforts
both public and private sector initiatives to encourage and ensure success
including the passing of legislation to facilitate new development,
particularly of new accommodations ranging from condos and villa developments
to small and large hotels. Another key development undertaken was the
of a new Warner Park Stadium with world class facilities for media,
officials, spectators
and players. The spectator capacity of 10,000 with temporary seating for the
Cricket World Cup (8000 normally) is more than 20 percent of the island’s
population. A grand opening ceremony for the venue was held on May 20, 2006, three
before it hosted its first international match featuring
India and the
West Indies.  To
date it is still the only World Cup Venue
in the Caribbean to be completed ahead of
schedule. As a result of their efforts, St. Kitts & Nevis was one of
the 8 Caribbean nations selected to host
matches in the World
Cup competition, making it the smallest nation ever to host Cricket World Cup
matches.  ICC Cricket World Cup in March
2007 will be one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events in the

“We see the 2007
Cricket World Cup as a key opportunity for increasing interest and awareness
for our destination within the wider Caribbean, as well as showcasing our
world-class facilities, hospitality and service,” said Minister of State
in the
Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture Richard “Ricky” O. Skerritt.  “Those who
come to St. Kitts for a sporting
event will also experience a taste of our island’s scenic natural beauty,
heritage and genuine, friendly people, after which we are convinced that
visiting cricket fans and officials will want to tell their family and
about us and return for longer stays as tourists.”

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 and
hospitality of St. Kitts & Nevis as a
sports tourism destination.


Located in the
northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St.
Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s
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.
In 2007, St. Kitts will be a host venue for the ICC (International
Cricket Council) Cricket World Cup with six Phase One matches scheduled to
place at Warner Park Stadium in March 2007, featuring Australia, South
Africa, Holland and