Island Games 2019: Cruise ships could be accommodation answer

Sport | Published:

  • Gibraltar officials say they may look into bringing in cruise ships to deal with accommodation shortages.
  • British Overseas Territory to submit official bid to host 2019 Games by end of September.

GIBRALTAR'S Island Games organising committee chairman believes finding suitable accommodation will be the biggest challenge as they prepare a bid to host the event in 2019.

After Menorca relinquished their hosting duties at last month's International Island Games Association annual general meeting, Linda Alvarez expressed initial interest on Gibraltar's behalf. But she has now admitted that existing facilities in the British Overseas Territory may not be sufficient to cope with an influx of Games competitors, and has suggested that they may look to take a leaf out of Shetland's book by bringing in a cruise ship – as the Scottish isle did in 2005.

One of Jersey's team hotels for the 1995 Island Games in Gibraltar

'One thing people have got to realise is that we are a small island, and we can't put on what Jersey did,' said Alvarez. 'We don't have the facilities that Jersey have, so we are going to have to decide which sports we put on, and how many, but our major problem is accommodation. We have got a limited amount of beds here and we would have to look at the feasibility of getting a liner in to cater for the extra number of people.'

She continued: 'We actually spoke to the 2015 organising committee when we went to Jersey because we thought it would be a good opportunity for us to put it on, and we also spoke to the sports co-ordinators to get a feel for whether they were interested, and everyone was. So when we came back home we had more formal meetings and we're now gradually putting together our proposal.

'We have total backing from the government here and we're confident of putting on a successful Games.'

And, with IIGA Chairman Jörgen Pettersson stating that chances would be given to smaller islands, the British Overseas Territory appears to be in pole position.

Explaining that the IIGA were 'very pleased to give Gibraltar this opportunity', Pettersson said: 'It is the policy of the IIGA to give smaller member islands a chance to be the hosts and it is good to see Gibraltar taking up the challenge.'

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