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Capitalising on Sports Tourism

Chief executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), Petra Roach along with President of the Grenada Football Association (GFA), Marlon Glean, and Sports Minister Ron Redhead along with some members of the Senior men’s national team

We have a very competitive landscape at the moment. A lot of people are looking for sun, sand, and sea, and there is a plethora of that around the world. So, certainly as a tourism organisation, we have identified sports tourism as one of the pillars for growth where we can have a competitive advantage.

This comment was made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) Petra Roach last Tuesday as she addressed the launch of the official campaign weeks ahead of what has been described as the most crucial encounter for the Spice Boys against the USA national team, the defending champions in the CONCACAF Nations League (CNL).

The highly anticipated football match is scheduled to kick off at the Kirani James Athletics and Football Stadium on March 24 at 7:30 p.m.

This will be the second time in history that Grenada will be hosting the USA national team.

In the 2004 World Cup qualifier, the Spice Boys suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat on Grenadian soil against the USA.

Grenada has never qualified for the World Cup but finished second in the Caribbean Cup in 1989 and 2008.

The second-place finish in the 2008 Caribbean Cup gave the country its first qualification to a major international competition in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

GFA President Marlon Glean said the Spice boys are currently engaged in training to prepare themselves to be as “competitive as possible.”

“We know of the caliber of the US national team, we know of all the players who are playing around the globe in the English Premier League in Italy, and we expect to match them or (to be) better than them on that day,” Glean remarked.

Interim Coach of Grenada’s Senior men’s team, and former national player Anthony Modeste has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the players in training so far.

“We are ramping the fitness of the players – we have been working hard. The coaching staff has been diligent in providing the necessary work for the players,” Modeste said, adding that the players have been showing up in their numbers every day to train.

He said while “a few of the locals” will be selected to play in the upcoming match “for sure,” there is a need to bring in some experienced players from overseas.”

Also attending Tuesday’s launch was Minister for Sports Ron Redhead, who reiterated the “government’s commitment to promoting the development of grassroots schools and community programs through the enforcement of our national policy on sports and physical activity.”

Minister Redhead said the upcoming match between the US and Grenada national teams “signals another great attempt to raise the standard of football played on the island and will advance the policy of sports tourism.”

With football having an “audience of between four (4) to (5) billion people”, the GTA CEO said that she is “very enthusiastic about the benefits that it (the upcoming CNL match against the USA) will bring us.”

“The kind of coverage that we are going to have online, and on the air, we’re talking about ESPN, that’s over 208 million people whose eyes are going to be on this (match) and if you look at the US as the competitor, that’s where 61% of our overall visitation comes from. So, it gives us a really fantastic platform to spread the word about Grenada,” Roach remarked.

“We also know that we are going to get some good traction out of the UK as well because that’s where most of the players are based,” she said.

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