Thu | Mar 22, 2018

Grange sees tourism options in motor racing

Published:Sunday | May 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMGlenroy Sinclair
Part of the crowd attending a 2015 meet at Dover Raceway, St Ann.

After last weekend's successful running of the first leg of the 2016 Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC) at the Jamwest Speedway in Little London, Westmoreland, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange said that Jamaica is poised to benefit tremendously from sports tourism.

"The opportunities are awesome! It is another means of generating foreign currency, financial support, and job creation for the country," Grange said.

All this can work if the collaborative efforts of the Sports Ministry, the Ministry of Tourism, JAMPRO and the other entities concerned can bring 'heads to bed' in Jamaica. Like track and field, Grange believes motor sport can attract thousands of persons to the island.

"Jamaica has the potential to be the hub of motor sport in this part of the world," said the minister, who has highlighted Jamaica as a sports tourism destination.

Last weekend, scores of local and international motor sport fans enjoyed the comfort of hotels in the Negril belt. There are reports that most of the hotels in the area were fully booked, although the direct impact of the CMRC meet is uncertain. Still, the possibilities are immense.

Speaking with Automotives on Friday, Joseph Smith, general manager of Negril Palms Hotel, explained that the hotels in Negril always have high occupancy on holiday weekends. The meet was run over the Labour Day weekend.

"I cannot say for sure if the race meet at Jamwest had any significant impact on the high occupancy in Negril. I think, though, the race meet will eventually lead to that. Motor sport is huge and has tremendous potential to do that," said Smith.