Cayman Mulls Expansion of Sports, Culinary Tourism

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Above: the CONCACAF U-15 championship in Cayman

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Sports tourism is an area “ripe for further expansion,” according to Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin.

The Premier, who delivered his 2013 policy statement on Monday, said recent events like the NORCECA Beach Volleyball events and the Cayman Invitational Track Meet were part of what could be a growing niche sector.

Those come in the wake of tournaments like the CARIFTA track championships and the CONCACAF under-15 boys football tournament, the latter of which brought more than 700 players and their family, coaches and friends to the Cayman Islands in August.

Plans are already underway for the CONCACAF under-20 women’s tournament in January, while the certified FIFA pitch in Cayman Brac will be improved with new changing rooms and bleachers.

That, McLaughlin said, would allow for “internationally recognized soccer matches” to be played on the island.

“The promotion of sports tourism presents an opportunity to not only promote the Cayman Islands as a tourism destination, but also enhances the profile of sports in our community which has the potential to lead to more and more of our residents choosing to embrace active lifestyles and life-long participation in sports,” the Premier said.

Culinary tourism, something for which the island is already known well, is another growth area, the Premier said, particularly as it relates to the territory’s drive to improve the local agriculture sector.

“There is a need to expand linkages with the tourism sector; providing farmers greater access to local hotels and restaurants while supporting the growth of culinary tourism,” the Premier said.