World Open will boost tourism

Squash fans in the Cayman Islands have something more than Christmas to look forward to at the end of the year because the World Open is going to be staged here.  

The Cayman Islands National Squash Association will host the World Open from December 13-21. This tournament attracts the best women’s squash players from around the world and is the largest tournament on the pro tour of the Women’s Squash Association.  

For a country as tiny as the Cayman Islands to host it when it is normally held in places with populations of millions bodes well for the future. The details were shared at a press conference last week at Camana Bay. 

The first four days of competition will be at the South Sound Squash Club and then the action moves to the glass court on the picturesque Festival Green at Camana Bay. Camana Bay is where reigning world champion Nicol David won her three Cayman Open titles.  

David is the six time world champion from Malaysia and remains undefeated on Cayman soil. David said: “It’s just fantastic that the Cayman Islands will be hosting the 2012 World Open. I’m really excited to be back there and I know a lot of people are coming from all over the world to watch the top women compete and enjoy everything the island has to offer.”  

David heads the list of 88 athletes participating in the week long Cayman World Open competition that will include a 32 player main draw, 64 player qualifying draw and around 34 different nationalities.  

– Wildcard entrants include top two players from the Cayman Islands, top two Caribbean female senior and junior players, top US college players and top Canadian college players. Marlene West is one of the top local players and she hopes to get one of the places.  

The 2012 Cayman World Open will bring over 600 visitors to the islands and with international media coverage on Squash TV and worldwide print and web coverage Cayman will be the centre piece for the sport, giving a significant boost to Cayman as an emerging sports tourism destination.  

McKeeva Bush is the Premier and also Minister of Tourism. He said: “Sports tourism is an essential niche market for the development of the Cayman Island’s already diverse tourism product.  

It is therefore truly an honour for the Cayman Islands to be afforded the privilege of hosting the 2012 World Squash Open.  

“This world championship Squash Open will deliver the added benefit of bringing large groups of people together in the celebration of sport – whether as world class sportsmen and women, or as fans, spectators, family and friends.  

“The resultant increase in visitation enhances Cayman’s brand awareness and also has a direct and sizeable effect on our economy. However, while the initial impact stimulates local businesses through the immediate cash injection to the economy, the real impact is realised via strong word of mouth endorsements which drives repeat visitation for years to come.” 

Nicol David Cayman Open

Nicol David is the world’s best woman player who loves competing here. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD