Barbados mulls boost in sports tourism

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados - The Barbados government is looking to further invest in sports tourism. This indication came recently from Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley at the official opening of the 15th Caribbean Cycling Championships Elite Road Race. “Sports has been identified as one of the pillars of economic development in Barbados’ growth strategy and one of the elements of that strategy is sports tourism, which for Barbados shows great potential,” Lashley explained. He added that hosting events such as the road race or offering facilities where athletes from all over the world could come to train are all strategies to be considered as the country seeks to grow this tourism segment. However, the minister noted that to develop sports tourism fully in Barbados, attention needs to be paid to development of the various sporting disciplines. “It is only then that an appreciation for sports can be cultivated and participation expanded,” he asserted. Lashley also pointed to the government’s plans to develop a new national stadium, inclusive of a modern velodrome. He said the government is “exploring the available options for funding.” More than 90 athletes from 20 countries gathered in Barbados to attend the Road Race Championships, which are considered the pinnacle of Caribbean cycling.