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Martial arts, Courtleigh combine to promote sports tourism

Published:Friday | July 3, 2015 | 7:00 AMAinsley Walters
Subrina Richards, captain Sheckema Cunningham, Marissa Jones and Ashieka Dyer show off their trendy and colourful uniforms, which have been turning heads in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Florida:

JAMAICA's martial artists have begun settling in at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida, ready to take on competitors from numerous schools, countries, and organisations in sparring, special techniques, and traditional weapons.

The team's bright yellow uniform, emblazoned with the country's flag strategically placed over the heart, has been drawing stares from the Norman International Airport right through Miami International to Orlando.

Despite the presence of other teams at Orlando International, Jamaica turned heads and had to be constantly responding to queries, especially concerning last night's tournament-opening Gold Cup title sponsor, The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites.

Determined to lead the way in sports tourism, Jamaica's martial arts community started off on sound footing last August by hosting 60-odd countries at Montego Bay's Convention Centre for the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Cup.

 

immense benefit

 

The local tourism industry benefited immensely as the Hilton Hotel and others were flooded with competitors, officials, and travelling spectators.

Jason McKay, World Cup 2015 organiser, said the tournament's success sparked the idea to have a local hotel on board for Jamaica's overseas, tournaments this year.

"Sports tourism means many things, not only staging events locally. Sports teams can also carry the brand of local hotels with them when they travel overseas and that's the spark that went off in my head, causing me to approach Courtleigh, which needed no prompting after witnessing, first-hand, the World Cup effect on Montego Bay last August," he explained.

The concept was first tested at the April 29-May 3 International Sport Kickboxing Association's World Championships in Portimao, Algarve, Portugal.

This was followed by the May 27-31 International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Championships in Jesolo, Italy, to resounding success.

Nicole Madden Greig, director of sales, Courtleigh Hotel, noted that Jamaica's martial arts international profile represents an ideal vehicle for the hotel's brand and Jamaican sports.

"We are supporting the team as it is our belief that the growth of sports and tourism is critical for Jamaica. We want to support both sports and tourism in a positive way," she said.