by Bevan Springer
NEW YORK, USA, December 29, 2006 – “We are ready for Cricket World Cup!” St Lucia’s Director of Tourism, Maria Fowell told an international audience of prospective visitors from the Washington DC and New York areas earlier this month.
While cultivating relationships in the marketplace with New Zealanders before the competition, Fowell said “the Beausejour Cricket Ground is virtually ready to host the matches except for some minor upgrading works and overlay requirements. Already Beausejour has received international acclaim for its functionality and quality and became the standard bearer for all the new grounds in the region.”
She added that the Beausejour road network has been designed to ensure smooth and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians. Several of the major roads are being upgraded to facilitate the increase in traffic during the event, and upgrades were being made to the emergency medical response mechanism for possible emergency situations.
Security services are undergoing extensive preparation and intensive training to meet the demands of hosting the mega-event, and cricket operations planning is at an advanced stage so teams can be assured of accommodation, transportation, training facilities, and support services at a higher level than ever offered at any previous Cricket World Cup, Fowell promised.
In fact, St Lucia is well organised and their plans are almost military in precision following a recent ICC Venue Tour when officials, representing various stakeholders, spent the day scrutinising the island’s level of preparedness for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in March and April.
“It is fair to say that this has probably been the easiest of all ICC Venue Tours to date because St Lucia has had the good fortune of proper planning and having a venue that is virtually ready, and we congratulate them. They certainly have been leaders in the region in this regard and there weren’t that many things that needed commenting on,” said Chris Dehring, Managing Director and CEO of ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007 Inc.
Fowell, who also is a director of Cricket World Cup St Lucia Inc., said volunteers have been mobilized, while a wide variety of accommodations will be offered, from large beach resorts and luxury villas to intimate small properties. “Home accommodation, inspected by the Ministry of Tourism for pre-established guidelines, allows for an alternative form of accommodation during the Cricket World Cup period,” she advised. St Lucia also is offering Caribbean cultural experiences – from Fish Festivals to Folk and Cultural Performances – to complement the action on the field.
St Lucia has earned CWC 2007’s “Blue Package” which includes six first round or group stage matches between Canada, England, Kenya, and New Zealand in Group C in March 2007, and the semifinal between the number one (1) and four (4) teams in April. Jamaica will host the other semifinal and Barbados handles the final.
Tickets were still available for the first round matches, while the semifinal, which will attract 20,000 spectators, had already been “sold out” in the public ticketing phase, with tickets only available through the purchase of packages from official tour operators (www.cricketlogistics.com) and from the Corporate Hospitality programme (email@example.com).
As well as in St Lucia, ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007 will be held in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago. St Vincent and the Grenadines will host a number of the warm-up matches.