CWC business mostly slow at city bars
Stabroek News
March 29, 2007

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One city bar is buzzing with Cricket World Cup (CWC) tourists while the others are still awaiting the drove of expected visitors to these shores.

David Burgess, owner of Windies Sports Bar and Grill on Middle Street, which hosted the Irish cricket team on Monday, was very happy with the response the bar has received. "At the moment we are very happy, very satisfied," Burgess said. Since opening in March last year Burgess said the bar has had much success, but "it is even better at the moment." The scene at the bar was described as a mixture of new faces and cultures with overseas-based Guyanese from Canada and the USA along with English and Irish tourists.

Burgess expects to see an even bigger increase in his business over the next week as Guyana will host CWC matches until April 9. "We expect to do well. We are the number one place," he said.

The bar opens from 11 am and Burgess says closing times are flexible once customers are on hand enjoying themselves.

Oasis Café on Carmichael Street, which offers guests the opportunity to drink coffee or tea while checking their email, reported that a few visitors were stopping by but not to the level that was expected. Co-owner William Walker said he expected a lot more visitors and he posited that the knockout of major teams like India and Pakistan from the World Cup may have impacted on the level of visitors seen so far.

India with its population of 1.1 billion has ardent cricket fans and it was largely expected that thousands of Indian nationals would have followed their team as they progressed through the World Cup. Oasis opens from 7.30 am and for the CWC will be open for dinner as well. Dining orders can be made as late as 9.30 pm. Walker says the addition of dinning is to attract customers after the matches.

A representative from the New Courtyard, formerly Palm Court, on Main Street said "there is no rush" or large number of visitors to the establishment. This newspaper was told that the bar had expected more customers compared to what it has seen so far, but is hopeful that business would pick up. The New Courtyard will be open 24 hours per day during the games. The bar/restaurant has an ongoing promotion with Carib Beer until the end of April. However, Banks DIH products will be procured through a distributor since a $450,000 order placed on Monday was not delivered on Tuesday, and Banks informed the business that the order would not be filled. The representative said Banks DIH had also offered the entity a promotion deal but the offer could not be facilitated owing to its ongoing Carib Beer promotion.

Paul Giddings, owner of the Jamrock Jamaican Restaurant, at Camp Street, said it is hard to tell that the country is hosting a large sporting event since he has seen no increase in business. Nevertheless, he was hopeful that business will take a turn for the better, as the games progress.

A representative at one of the city's largest distributors of carbonated drinks and liquor, Bish & Sons Liquor and Variety Store at Barr Street, Kitty, expressed similar sentiments. The representative said the depot has reported no change in business activity and commented that business was quite slow. The large number of restricted items that cannot be taken into the ground, like liquor, may have affected sales, the representative said, though the store remains hopeful that sales will increase on days when there is no cricket.

Apart from a few sightings of visitors there is not much evidence on the city streets that a large number of tourists have followed the cricketers here. Several volunteer booths are strategically located around the city to assist tourists with directions and to offer other kinds of help.

(Nicosia Smith)