Minister Grange while speaking at the launch of the 2017 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k at the Alahambra Inn in St. Andrew, said that in recent years tourism generated by marathons has been rising in tandem with the increasing global popularity of marathon racing itself.
Miss Grange said:
“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.”
Minister Grange said it was not surprising that the Reggae Marathon had become a magnet for visitors. “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.”
The Sport Minister said she was led again to emphasise that Sport Tourism in general had become a multi-million-dollar 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,” she said.
Minister Grange said it was up to the Government to provide the support through sport infrastructure and other facilities “to enable us to turn potential into money, big money.”
She said that the Legacy projects under Jamaica 55 being undertaken such as the Upgrading of the Trelawny Stadium, the establishment of the Caribbean Sports Medicine Centre and the re-development 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.
Minister Grange pledged the donation of a computer from the Ministry which she hoped would assist the expansion of the Reggae Marathon Schools’ programme.