Regional football governing body CONCACAF has generated more than US$30 million of economic activity in the Cayman Islands since Jeff Webb took over the presidency, according to a report produced by MaplesFS for the organization.
CONCACAF tournaments and events, as well as the presence of the president’s office in the Cayman Islands, helped pump millions of dollars into the local economy from 2012 to 2014, the report suggests.
Events like the 2013 CONCACAF Summit, which brought soccer officials including FIFA president Sepp Blatter to Cayman, and two regional under-15 tournaments featuring teams from more than 20 countries were highlighted as money-spinning events held in the territory over the past three years.
The report lists 14 courses, meetings and events diverted to Cayman since Webb took office in 2012.
An introduction to the document indicates that it was produced to determine the dual economic impact of CONCACAF events and competitions in the Cayman Islands (2012-2014) and the location of the CONCACAF president’s office in the Cayman Islands (2012-2014).
The report also highlights coaching courses, the expenses of the president’s office and the Women’s Under-20 Championships held here last year, as contributing to some $19 million in direct spending in the country.
It estimates that a further $11 million of economic activity has been generated through increased business activity as a result of these events.
The biggest beneficiary is the tourism industry, with air travel, accommodation and meals and entertainment boosted by the various events.
According to the report, based on data provided to Maples by CONCACAF, the presence of the president’s office in Cayman alone has generated nearly $8 million in economic impact, including administrative and travel expenses.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell welcomed the report, saying CONCACAF events helped bring in hundreds of extra visitors to Cayman during the off-season.
“Funds from CONCACAF stimulate the economy and trickle down to a full spectrum of businesses, ranging from large hotels and accommodations providers to small local restaurants and transportation service providers,” he said.
The MaplesFS report was commissioned by local television station Cayman 27 and CONCACAF, which is the governing body for 41 football associations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
The report highlights the under-15 boys and under-15 girls football tournaments as having the biggest impact on the economy.
The boys tournament will be staged in Cayman again in August and will feature 32 teams and bring an estimated 1,000 people to the island.
Mr. Kirkconnell said government had invested several million dollars in upgrading sports facilities and insisted the tournaments showed the territory was a viable “sports tourism” destination.
“At a national level, the Cayman Islands government is supportive of diversifying our tourism sector and has significantly invested in our sporting facilities to enhance our islands’ ability to attract sports tourism opportunities. Hosting these acclaimed championships in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac is in line with this objective and will help to build awareness of the Cayman Islands as a viable sports tourism destination in international circles,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
Hoteliers and transport companies also hailed the impact of sports events, like the under-15 tournaments.
Jeffrey Webb is set to be re-elected unopposed as president of CONCACAF when it meets next month.