CHRIS Dehring, the World Cup chief executive, has been attempting to sooth fears that some Caribbean venues will be unable to cope with the influx of spectators.
Chris Dehring said on Tuesday that recent news of record-breaking tourist arrivals in Jamaica was a good example of what could be achieved ahead of the tournament. Reacting to reports that three million people visited Jamaica last year – 1.68 million stop-over passengers and 1.33 million cruise passengers – he noted that such capacity boded well for the region.
Dehring said: “It’s a significant jump for Jamaica’s tourism over 2005 and it shows that clearly there’s a lot of confidence in that sector. There are countless places where people can choose to vacation, and the fact that Jamaica’s tourism figures continue to rise is a firm indicator that the country – and indeed the wider Caribbean – continues to be a destination of choice for people worldwide.” He added: “Other Caribbean nations, including Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados and Saint Lucia, have strong tourism products and infrastructure and – with the Cricket World Cup added to the mix – these countries are even more attractive as vacation spots.” Barbados recorded 560,000 stop-over visitors in 2005. Warm-up matches start on March 5 before the influx gathers momentum. “Of course, a lot of people are coming for the cricket, but a lot are also coming for the party of a lifetime,” Dehring said.