Arveon Mills, Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company says, “Trinidad and Tobago sees sport tourism as an important emerging sector with the capacity for entrepreneurial development, foreign exchange earnings, employment creation and youth empowerment.”
In line with an aggressive mandate to develop the sport tourism niche, Trinidad and Tobago’s Tourism Development Company held a meeting with John Tolkamp, President of Cycling Canada and Robert Farrier, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF), to discuss plans to position the National Cycling Centre as a major hub for hemispheric cyclists to visit and train ahead of major international competitions.
“Trinidad is well positioned geographically as the destination of choice for the Pan-American Cycling Federation (COPACI) region which consists of forty-seven countries. This is an excellent opportunity for our country to benefit from increased sport tourist arrivals” says Farrier.
Following a tour of the cycling facility, Tolkamp says that the National Cycling Centre is an important catalyst to boost the tourism sector in Trinidad and Tobago.
Tolkamp oversees the sport in his country and has been instrumental in having Canada better placed in cycling at the international level. Most importantly, Tolkamp is a member of the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) Track Commission and a former member of the UCI’s Ethics Commission.
“This was my first visit to Trinidad and indeed it was a productive one. I was able to meet with key persons in the tourism, sport and cycling fraternity for strategic planning and best practices sharing sessions that will help to push Trinidad and Tobago as one of the most important satellite cycling centers in COPACI,” Tolkamp says.
He continues: “After the meetings, there’s nothing quite like enjoying the beauty of the islands and some pre-Carnival fun. I enjoyed the sweet sounds of the national instrument at the Panorama semi-finals; experienced a true ‘trini lime’ on Ariapita Avenue and even had my first roti! This was my first visit but it certainly will not be the last.”
With a fixed seating capacity for just over 2,500 persons and parking available for 300 vehicles, this state-of-the-art indoor air-conditioned velodrome is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and includes a wooden high performance cycle track as well as an inner circle concrete warm up cycle track.
Mills explains: “Trinidad and Tobago strongly supports the view that the ultramodern national cycling center provides some of the best prospects and opportunities to lure international and regional visitors to our country. Our GoTrinBago destination app-the ultimate guide to discovering Trinidad and Tobago will help to strengthen the facility’s incredible potential as a foreign exchange earner for both islands.”
In 2016, Trinidad and Tobago’s five-member 2016 Junior Pan American Track Cycling Championships team created sporting history by becoming the first national team to compete along the sleek 250-metre circuit. Farrier said that event, professional cyclists from COPACI converged on the new velodrome on the grand opening event.
This year Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation will be hosting three major international cycling events: The Easter Gran Prix, the Pan American Elite Championships and the Caribbean Mountain Bike Championships, that are expected to attract competitors from North America, South & Central America, Europe and all of the Caribbean as they do battle in our beautiful Island Paradise.