World Cup 2014 a prototype - McKay
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
JASON MCKAY, promoter of next week's International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Cup (August 27-30), at Montego Bay's Convention Centre, said his intention is to make the event a prototype for similar sporting events from which Jamaica's economy can benefit.
"There is no profit to be made from promoting this event. The best we can hope for at this stage, is to break even. The Convention Centre was not set up to host this type of event, so a lot of the things we have had to be importing, such as the temporary stands," McKay pointed out.
"However, the idea is to create economic activity, as tourist arrivals are important to the country. In addition, a local team has to be employed, an organising committee, which provides jobs long before, during and after such a tournament," he added.
"If we were able to host a world tournament each year, involving any of the major martial arts bodies, that local organising team would be employed year-round as these events take months of planning," he said.
McKay founded Jamaica's highly successful combined martial arts team and is the backer of local stars such as Olympian Kenneth Edwards, Sheckema Cunningham and Jamaica's most decorated ITF fighter, Alrick Wanliss.
He said Jamaica has all the right ingredients to become a sports-tourism destination, especially martial arts, similar to Disneyland pulling up to 4,000 competitors for the annual United States Open on the American Independence weekend of July 4.
"Disney might have its theme parks, but Jamaica has its beaches and entertainment. The island is a hop, skip and jump away from the North American mainland. This time of the year, the low-occupancy period, great deals can be had for tourists to come from the world over, if only there is an event to pull them," he pointed out.
"The idea is to host a tournament each year, ITF, International Sports Karate Association, you name it. We want Jamaica to be the martial arts destination of this hemisphere," he added.
Jamaica Taekwon-Do Federation and McKay have partnered with Jamaica Tourist Board, Montego Bay's Convention Centre, Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, Riu Hotels and broadcast sponsor Power106 to make the 2014 World Cup "a Jamaican experience".
"No Jamaican experience can be complete without locals participating through attendance and entertaining and that is why our entry prices are so low, even with top-quality entertainers billed for our opening ceremony, Wednesday, August 27, and gala night, Friday 29," he said.
I-Octane performs during Wednesday night's opening ceremony. Friday's gala night will see KipRich and the 'Energy God' Elephant Man onstage.
Admission to the event each day is J$500 and includes the opening ceremony at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Gala night, however, will cost patrons $1,000 and starts at 8 p.m. on Friday.