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Tournament shows tourism possibilities

Kimberley was showcased to an audience of 1,5 billion people in over 80 countries during the recent International Cricket Council’s (ICC) u.19 World Cup.

The Diamond Oval hosted nine games. It was chosen as one of four centres to host the event, with the opening game on 17 January between South Africa and Afghanistan.

The Northern Cape MEC for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Maruping Lekwene, said in a media statement last week that the young cricketers will in the future, bring their families to visit the Northern Cape, resulting in benefits for the economic injec­tion to the province.

Kimberley hosted the teams of South Africa, Afghanistan, England, West Indies, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Scotland.

All people involved with each team, parents and supporters, including the 150 people that formed part of the TV crew who televised the event internationally, made use of the accommodation facilities. They also visited major tourist attractions such as the McGregor Museum and the Kimberley Mine Museum, including the Big Hole.

The CEO of Northern Cape Cricket, Eugene Jacobs, said with the assistance from the Office of the Premier, Northern Cape Tourism Authority and the Department of Education, they managed to expose 700 to 1 000 learners from disadvantaged communities per game to watch the future stars in various teams.

“We also hosted 33 practice sessions which had given 50 to 80 boys and girls an opportunity to bowl to these u.19 stars,” Jacobs said.

Four Coaching for Good sessions, where players ventured into the communities to do coaching clinics for young cricketers, boys and girls, also took place.

Apart from that, the tournament created 15 to 30 temporary jobs to unemployed people from Kimberley to work for the full duration of the tournament.

Lekwene said sports tourism has become an increasingly important part of the tourism industry in the province.

“As a marketing destination organisation, it has become essential for us to explore alternative means of attracting local and international visitors to a specific destination.

“We have certainly achieved that by hosting prominent sporting events.”

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