Athletics

Marathons a driving force behind sports tourism product – Grange

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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Sport minister Olivia Grange yesterday recognised marathon racing as “one of the major engines driving sport tourism in Jamaica”.

Grange, speaking at the launch of the 2017 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K at the Alhambra Inn in St Andrew, said that in recent years tourism benefits generated by marathons have been rising in tandem with the increasing global popularity of marathon racing itself.

“The reports are showing that as the marathons pull in more participants, so are the tourists flocking in, not just to enjoy the events, but whatever else the host city has to offer.

“Now Jamaica's Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K is increasingly becoming a drawing card not only for visitors who come to run and or/walk, but also for visitors who come just to be a part of the crowd and have fun,” she said.

“Over 17 years it has become Jamaica's premier marathon and has earned high grades internationally, with the 100 Half Marathons Club of the United Sates saying it was among the best half marathons of 2016,” Grange added.

The sport minister underlined the importance of sport tourism as a growing global industry.

“Sport is regarded as the number one industry in the leisure sector. Sport is an integral part of all cultures and, while often viewed as a separate activity, it is inextricably linked to tourism and many other sectors,” Grange noted.

She said that the Legacy projects being undertaken under Jamaica 55 such as the upgrading of the Trelawny Stadium, the establishment of the Caribbean Sports Medicine Centre and the redevelopment of the National Stadium complex, along with the establishment of the Sport Museum and a concert hall, represent a large part of what the Government is doing through her ministry.

Grange pledged the donation of a computer through her ministry, which she hoped would assist the expansion of the Reggae Marathon schools' programme.

Race Director Alfred “Franno” Francis, head of Jamdammers Running Club, was excited at the prospects of the first class marathon.

“You will have heard that the event continues to receive accolades internationally, and right here at home we are honoured to have been included in the minister of health's Jamaica Moves Campaign,” he said.

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