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India's early exit hit Antigua World Cup earnings

India's early ouster from the World Cup has not only disappointed millions of fans but also the hospitality sector in Antigua.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Antigua
UPDATED ON MAR 31, 2007 01:37 PM IST

Despite the World Cup, hotels in Antigua are facing a low occupancy and hence low earnings and a minister says the reason is India's early ouster from the tournament.
Tourism Minister Harold Lovell said,"Antigua and the whole region did over prepare themselves because they did not want to be caught under prepared and also because they had been told thousands would pour in to see the games."

Speaking to Caribbean Media Corp, Lovell identified India's failure to qualify for the Super Eight round as a factor which compounded the situation and which impacted negatively on the hospitality sector.

"I spoke with the hotel association and the report is that there have been several cancellations from journalists, fans and mainly Indians and you know India is a very big factor in the World Cup, not only from the point of view of the support base that travels with the Indian team, but also at the sponsorship level.

"If you look at the main sponsors for cricket World Cup, at least three of them are from India. So India is heavily involved and when India was eliminated from the competition, a lot of the Indian fans decided to pack up and return.

So many of the properties have had cancellations from Indian fans and I think that is a major contributing factor but I think generally speaking that it might have been over touted a bit and that the expectations might have been a bit higher than reality would have actually dictated," Lovell said.

The minister was speaking in light of the disappointing attendance at games and against the backdrop of low occupancy in hotels.

"We were told there would be thousands and thousands of people coming, and the last thing we wanted was to be in a position where we wouldn't have the capacity that people would be saying 'but you knew cricket World Cup was coming, how is that you didn't prepare'," he said.

Lovell added that although the tournament was not as successful as predicted, Antigua and Barbuda had done well.

"We are obviously disappointed but we still think that it has been a tremendous tribute to the Caribbean and I speak from an Antigua and Barbuda perspective. I think that we have been able to rise to the occasion," he said.

Antigua and Barbuda is hosting six Super Eight games at the newly built Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

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