For the first time in its history, the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF) will host a Caribbean championship when on August 10-11 affiliat
es of the Caribbean Cycling Federation descend on these shores for the 2019 edition of the Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships.
In attendance at a press conference hosted yesterday at the National Sports Commission by GCF President Horace Burrowes were Director of Sport Christopher Jones, His Worship Mayor of Bartica Gifford Marshall, President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana Mitra Ramkumar and Secretary of the GCF, Maria Leung.
Expressing pleasure at being able to host this prestigious spectacle, Burrowes thanked the Government of Guyana, NSC and the Bartica Town Council for their support thus far, noting that when Guyana was given the option of hosting this year, one year ahead of being awarded the 2019 edition, Jones and Marshall had no hesitation in giving the thumbs up.
Jamaica, Burrowes informed, had been selected as the next host nation but they indicated their inability to host and that’s when Guyana stepped up.
The Town of Bartica has been selected to host both the Time Trials and Road Races on August 11-12 with teams expected to start arriving in Guyana on August 8th, next.
Director of Sports, Jones in his remarks choose to make a call to all to understand the magnitude of the event at hand, noting that the GCF and Mayor and Town Council of Bartica have taken the conversation of Sport Tourism to a level of action.
“This is the second such major activity of cycling that is going to be had in Bartica, essentially, it provides an opportunity for local Guyanese to visit Bartica and also those in the Diaspora to come back home during what is called the July/August summer vacation for those abroad and for us locally, its vacation.”
Jones posited that the hotels, restaurants and tour operators among others within the Cayuni/Mazaruni area have the opportunity to cash in on the many opportunities that would be available during the weekend of activities.
He alluded to the fact that there would be several meetings with corporate Guyana and the business community in Bartica to give all an opportunity to come on board with a view of making the activity a resounding success.
“This is an opportunity where the entire country would be on show and corporate Guyana should take the opportunity to get on board as a partner. I want again to congratulate president Burrowes for the work that he’s been doing, we recognize at the NSC and Board of Commissioners levels, the work he has been doing for cycling in Guyana. We recognize that because of his stewardship, Guyana is now being represented at the international level where we are now attending congresses and being put on the map.”
Jones committed that the Government of Guyana and by extension, the NSC would be fully supportive of this historical event.
Mayor Marshall also gave his Council’s full commitment on behalf of all the residents of Bartica that their holistic support is guaranteed.
Whilst also commending the Government of Guyana and the NSC for making the historical opportunity a reality, Marshall stated that while it would be a tall order for them, the local tourism industry would be impacted positively and that Bartica would ensure that Guyana is represented well as all visitors would be happy to return.
“Cycling of course is an activity that speaks to active mobility and in our green objectives this is one of the areas we’ve been focusing on. We’ve been focusing a lot on the health of our people, we’ve been focusing a lot on investment in sports especially where our youths are concerned and cycling embodies both of those objectives.
This we believe can be used as a tool to continue our green objectives and ensure that Bartica grows from strength to strength.”
Marshall also alluded to the fact that event tourism has a positive impact on the local economy which is a step in the right direction.
“We had a very successful Bartica Cycling Challenge in March this year and we would have seen what it did to the local economy so in time to come we will be of course, promoting more activities and we believe that we would continue to have the support of the NSC, Government of Guyana and other agencies. Bartica is open and we are ready to host the competition.”
T&HAG President, Ramkumar in his presentation said that the Bartica experience of being green is the focus of our tourism, reminding that Guyana is the number one Eco Tourism destination in the world.
“So Guyana is the new hot destination, people want to come here so what we need to do is to ensure that whenever people come, whatever is the purpose of their visit that they meet a friendly and hospitable country; a destination that is open, open for tourism, open for business, open for sports.”
Ramkumar also stated that it is the belief of T&HAG, that tourism can be used for positive change.
“Many countries across the world have invested heavily in sports tourism and sports facilities. You look at what Abu Dhabi has done, they have built Ferrari world in a dessert and it was done for sports tourism. We want to collaborate with the sporting authorities, especially the people in cycling with the Director of Sports and the Sports Commission and with the Mayor of Bartica.”
It was pointed out by Ramkumar that they see Bartica as a critical component in the sports tourism drive since there are a number of resorts in that area including Baganara, Aruwai, Baracara Falls and Sloth Island along the Essequibo circuit.
“So it’s in that light that we welcome this initiative and we would want people to come here, and when they come they share that experience and that of itself becomes a marketing tool. Everybody is on social media, they take a selfie and they share it and that’s a huge marketing tool. I look forward to collaborating with all to make this a success.”
Countries expected to travel for the Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Bermuda, Bahamas, Jamaica, Curacao, Suriname, Puerto Rico St. Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, British Virgin Islands and Haiti.
The respective Presidents of the COPACI and Caribbean are also expected to be here. Burrowes indicated that efforts are being made to have the UCI boss in Guyana also.
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