England may be the birthplace of cricket but it has always had the strongest connections with Barbados. Cricketing greats from the island include seminal names like Sir Garfield Sobers, Rev. Wes Hall, Joel Garner and Charles Griffith and they were instrumental in putting Barbados well and truly on the map when it comes to stellar names and games.
The Barbados Tourism Authority has designated the year 2012 the Year of Sport; From Grass Roots To World Class and has worked tirelessly to identify and establish relationships with key cricketing associations and partners with a view to raising Barbados' profile amongst the cricket fraternity. As part of its Sports Tourism strategy, this activity also helps to showcase the fact that Barbados has some of the best sporting infrastructural facilities in the world.
No wonder they have played host to world- class sporting events such as Cricket World Cup in 2007 and the ICC Twenty20 in 2010 amongst other sporting events. The Kensington Oval on island is also widely regarded as one of the best in the world with many aspiring to be a part of the Kensington experience, be it as a player or enthusiastic fan.
Recent collaboration with key cricket associations have included The England and Wales Cricket Board, The Lord's Taverner's, Hampshire County Cricket Club and Lashings World XI.
The Barbados Tourism Authority will also be working closely with the likes of Lord Taverner's as a vehicle to further increase the awareness of Barbados as a tourism destination and to encourage travel. On Wednesday 21 September 2011, the Lord's Taverner’s will host a dinner to honour a number of former fast bowling greats worldwide.
The event will be held at the London Hilton on Park Lane and will attract high profile members of the business community, celebrities and well-known personalities. Barbadian legends including the Rt. Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, Charlie Griffith, Joel Garner and the Rev. Wes Hall will be honoured guests.
Petra Roach, Vice President, Sales and Marketing commented: "We believe that the strong brand associations with the county cricket clubs, the ECB and the resulting presence will ensure that Barbados' synonymity with the sport of cricket resonates with prospective clients and ensure that the destination remains at the forefront of their minds. Our vision is to ensure that when people think of Barbados, they think of it as the home of cricket."
Other on island activity will include the Barbados Sports Camp which has been run each August for the past five years and features a number of celebrity coaches who have been specially invited to carry these sessions in three disciplines football, netball and cricket. The programme is aimed at families travelling during the summer as well as local children (9-17) and provides them with an opportunity to develop their skills and benefit from the knowledge and expertise of some of the world's top sporting icons.
Cricket coaches including Dean Headley, Gladstone Small and Desmond Haynes are just an example of the sport's iconic stars who have given their time and efforts to nurture and fine-tune the raw talent of tomorrow's sporting stars.