QUARTET: Dr. Ernest Hilaire, High Commissioner to the UK, Jermain Defoe, Atlyn Forde, Assistant Director of Marketing – UK and Europe and Les Ferdinand (right)
TOTTENHAM STAR Jermain Defoe was one of the attendees as Saint Lucia launched its 2013 sports tourism initiatives to the UK media, specialist sports tour operators and Premier League footballers past and present at a reception hosted by the High Commission for Saint Lucia and the Saint Lucia Tourist Board.
In an address that saw Saint Lucia firmly highlighted as the next big Caribbean destination for sports tourism, the Tourist Board revealed a series of developments and initiatives that will make the island a must visit for many sporting tours in 2013 and beyond.
From the launch of TriStLucia 2013, the island’s inaugural triathlon event (an initiative with London Olympic triathlon race organiser John Lunt and athletics icon Daley Thomson), to hosting the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2017, which will see heavy investment in upgrading current sporting facilities with the aim of unearthing the next Saint Lucian sports star.
For the first time, the island will also host the inaugural Sports in Black and White Conference and Youth Forum throughout June 2013, which will focus on topics including Caribbean sport and its structure, the sporting challenges effecting young people and racism in sports.
Football legend Les Ferdinand, who like Defoe has of Saint Lucian heritage, also attended the launch and provided comment on their own initiatives for supporting the youth on island.
Jean Marc Flambert, Marketing Director, UK and Europe: “Saint Lucia offers sporting facilities for a wide range of disciplines including netball, football, cricket, swimming and athletics. The introduction of brand new initiatives such as TriStLucia add variety to the island’s offering and, alongside the support we are providing for educational initiatives such as the Sports Black and White Conference, set Saint Lucia apart from other Caribbean destinations targeting the sports market.
"Saint Lucia is an island that offers excellent facilities against a breath-taking backdrop and we are confident the marketing activity planned for 2013 will see the island become the Caribbean destination of choice for so many sporting events.”
Dr. Ernest Hilaire, High Commissioner to the UK: “This is a very exciting time for sports tourism and I’m extremely proud of Saint Lucia’s achievements. One of my passions is sport and my background in the island’s cricketing development has seen my love and appreciation for sports in Saint Lucia grow.
"I’m fully committed to helping with the development of sports tourism and certainly believe the initiatives coming in 2013 will lead to great things.”
Visit: www.tristlucia.com and www.stlucia.org