Caribbean: Counting down to World Cup fever

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THE countdown has officially started – it’s just one year to go until the Caribbean’s biggest-ever sporting event.

There’s plenty of scope for agents to earn some serious commission from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, as the combination of Caribbean sunshine and sports action will be a strong draw for fans.

Caribbean Tourism Organisation marketing director Julia Hendry said: “With the current interest in cricket, this will be a fantastic opportunity to put the spotlight on the entire Caribbean. There will be considerable impact on sales after the event, particularly if England does well. There is already an enormous amount of interest and we expect this to continue up to and well beyond the World Cup.”

According to Hendry, to maximise sales, agents should swot up on the geography of the Caribbean – learn where the host countries are and how to get there – through the CTO’s Caribbean Training Programme.

Kuoni Sport Abroad manager David Higgins said: “Agents will get the die-hard fans going, but there could also be some people who were converted to cricket after England’s Ashes win. The event will also tie up well as a family holiday.”

Cricket Logistics, an arm of Gullivers Sports Travel UK, has been announced as the official tour operator for the event.

By the end of this month the official travel agents for the event are expected to be announced. Confusingly, the  official travel agents will actually be tour operators that will sell through high-street agents. The operators are expected to start marketing their tours as soon as the  official travel agents are announced. It is expected that operators will accept deposits, but some will not be able to actually sell packages for some weeks after that as they have to secure flights and hotel rooms.

There will be more than 800,000 tickets on sale. Public tickets will go on sale on May 1.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 commercial manager Stephen Price has said if there is over subscription of the sale of public tickets, applications for tickets will go to a ballot. This means, to guarantee clients a ticket, agents should only sell packages from official travel agents.

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