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Sports Tourism
Canadian Tennis Coach Prompting Caribbean Getaways
One of Canada's top tennis coaches wants to help the Caribbean tourism industry with its sports tourism thrust. Lionel Eli, a former Barbadian Davis Cup player now based in Toronto, said that in this year's challenging global economic environment he is prepared to offer his treasured database of sporting clients to the region for the design and promotion of fitness getaways. The president of the Lionel Eli Tennis Academy, who also is a respected personal trainer and injury therapist, commented, "we believe the Caribbean is the perfect location for North Americans to escape from both the stresses of life and the cold wintry conditions we experience each year ... so I look forward to offering tennis and health and wellness packages to our existing database of sporting enthusiasts here in North America."

Eli recently traveled to his native Barbados with an entourage of Canadian tennis players who participated in a week-long tennis camp, including playing friendly matches with Paragon Tennis Club. Eli believes that the Caribbean continues to give lip service to the concept of sports tourism and believes the region is still "missing the ball" by not attracting the thousands of potential visitors who are interested in training in ideal climatic conditions. "We plan to extend our program beyond Barbados this year and approach destinations like St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Jamaica and the Bahamas, provided there is interest in developing what we think is a very lucrative market," said Eli, who added that he also hoped to share some of his team's coaching skills with locals in the Caribbean.

Eli, who has helped prepare numerous top-ranked Canadian players secure full tennis scholarships to colleges in the United States, said health and fitness "must become a priority if we are to enjoy quality of life here on earth," as he encouraged both the public and private sector to participate in the getaway program. Pictured here are Lionel Eli with 15 year-old student Iman Mulesa at Ta m Heather Curling and Tennis Club in Canada.
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