World Cup 2007 May 13, 2006

World Cup will help Windies tourism: Bacher

Haydn Gill



Ali Bacher: 'The biggest legacy for me is going to be the cricket grounds that are going to be refurbished, rebuilt or new ones built' © Getty Images

The man who successfully co-ordinated South Africa's staging of the World Cup three years ago has every confidence that the West Indies can pull off a grand event next year. "I'm sure everyone in the Caribbean will like it to be a great success which I'm sure it will be," Dr Ali Bacher said.

And he fully emphasised that the region stood to benefit tremendously from hosting the third-largest sporting event in the world. "The biggest legacy for me is going to be the cricket grounds that are going to be refurbished, rebuilt or new ones built for the World Cup," he said. "Over the years, despite ordinary or below ordinary facilities, the Caribbean has produced so many great players, some of the greatest the world has ever seen. It has staggered me.

"This will be the legacy, whether it be Barbados, Jamaica or St Lucia, you will leave behind outstanding cricket grounds which your players and your spectators deserve."

Development of other infrastructure, including roads and ports would also lead to the improvement of the tourism industry. The exposure, by way of television coverage, was another medium that would have a big impact. "The Caribbean is basically about tourism. You've got an opportunity to grow that market by the people who will come here and go back and say that St Lucia is unbelievable," Bacher said.

"In South Africa, in every match - if there was a match in Port Elizabeth, about four minutes before there was a video clip about the beauty of Port Elizabeth or the game parks - I'm sure the same will happen here.

"You've got hundreds of millions of people around the world seeing the beauty of St Lucia or Barbados or Antigua. That industry can thrive and become even stronger. The World Cup in South Africa helped our tourism industry enormously."