Lewis, in a media release, said, “the Academy which carries the name of the TT and West Indies cricket legend provides a high profile platform for the marketing of products and services related to the sports event tourism market.” He also noted that the recently-opened National Cycling Centre and National Aquatic Centre (both in Couva) signal a shift from Port of Spain and, by extension, North Trinidad, as the home of sports.
“The official opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Friday points the way to the dawn of a new era for sport in Trinidad and Tobago,” Lewis stated. “That said, it will be equally important that we learn from lessons of the past and ensure that well thought out maintenance and utilisation plans and strategies are put in place for this brand new facility.
“There is a significant opportunity now for Trinidad and Tobago to go after the hosting of international and regional sports events that can be a major contributor to the economy. This will require not only the identification of opportunities to host sports events, but also the development of skills required for bidding and hosting international sport events.
“Simultaneously we must also build and develop crucial relationships with international, continental and regional sport federations.” The veteran sporting administrator ended, “any sport tourism strategy must align to the broader national priorities for economic diversification, and sport and recreation.
“Critical success factors will include clarity as to who should be driving the process, who should be funding it and clear benchmarks for success.”