Outstanding Olympic performance brings more tourism to the Caribbean
After an amazing outcome for Caribbean countries in the 2016 Rio Olympics, many travellers have become interested in visiting this stunning and charming region. With a total of 28 medals, the athletes proudly represented their nations and brought attention to these small and humble countries with a fascinating history and culture.
The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro would have not had the same sparkle without the participation of Caribbean athletes who gave their all in every single competition. The show they offered before the world has made millions of people all over the world curious about discovering this magical region, which with little resources has managed to produce some of the world’s finest sportsmen and women.
According to Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), all Caribbean athletes are being hailed as ambassadors whether or not they ended up on medal stands. He went on to say the branding of the Caribbean's tourism product has benefited hugely from champions such as the Olympics athletes in these past days:
“To those who represented the Caribbean we especially offer our kudos. Those athletes, champions all, displayed the attributes we ascribe to brand champions.”
The entire Caribbean region was able to rack up a total of 28 medals in the Rio Olympic Games, with Cuba and Jamaica being responsible for a whopping 11 medals each. Cuba excelled in boxing and wrestling whilst speed kings dominated Jamaica’s medal charts. The Bahamas follows, collecting two medals whilst the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago each collected one.
This edition was special for many countries, with historic achievements including the performances from Jamaica's newest sprint queen Elaine Thompson, the first woman to win the women's sprint double since Florence Griffith-Joyner; Shaunae Miller, the second woman from the Bahamas to win the women's 400 meter, Grenada's Kirani James, who won silver in the 400-meter final; and bronze medal winner Keshorn Walcott, who represented Trinidad and Tobago in the men's javelin competition.
All these Caribbean nations are now a hotspot for sports fans who cheered on for the athletes during the Games. As a special reward for their hard work and accomplishments, Karolin Troubetzkoy, head of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) presented the entire St Lucian Olympic team a complimentary weekend stay at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain. Also executive director these two resorts in St. Lucia, Troubetzkoy said that the athletes serve as ambassadors for the Caribbean and their efforts are well appreciated by all of those in this sector.
Jamaica rises with Bolt
No one offered a better show than the King of Speed himself, Usain Bolt. After decades of making Jamaica one of the most followed countries in the Olympics, this amazing athlete has also managed to draw many tourists to the island. The Jamaica Tourist Board used the Rio events as a platform to drive awareness of the country's hospitality through its Jamaica House facility, which served as a cultural hub for all things Jamaican and the place to be for fans, athletes, dignitaries, celebrities and media.
Paul Pennicook, the Jamaica’s director of tourism, declared they were building on the momentum from Jamaica House and already working with partners to increase airlift from Brazil and the region. After the games, over 20,000 visitors swarmed the Jamaica House, hosted at the Prado Jockey Club in Rio, for events on large screens and nightly entertainment by top Jamaican reggae artists, including the likes of I-Octane, Nature, Luciano and Ky-Mani Marley. Pennicook went on to declare that:
“Not only was Jamaica a tremendous success in the world's premier sporting arena, but Jamaica House was the place to be in Rio. Searches for Jamaica spiked dramatically during the Games, as bookings rose by 170%.”
The country’s hotels and tourism venues have seen much growth since the beginning of the Rio Olympics. More than 180 travel agents were welcomed into the hospitality hub to experience a taste of the cuisine and culture of Jamaica. Sandals Resorts’ senior group executive chef, Glenroy Walker, was on hand to prepare authentic Jamaican meals for approximately 1,000 Olympic fans daily.
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