0Shares0000Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson (right) celebrates after scoring against Croatia © AFP / Khaled DESOUKIGELENDZHIK, Russian Federation, Jun 27 – Gallant Iceland headed home heartbroken but unbowed after a premature end to their first World Cup adventure, ruing what might have been after a narrow defeat by Croatia.Iceland caught the public imagination with their fairytale run to the quarter-finals at Euro 2016 in France and waltzed through qualifying for Russia, topping their group, which included Croatia. At the World Cup they held their own in a section that also featured Argentina and Nigeria but were left to regret a string of near misses in their final match before Ivan Perisic sealed their fate with a last-minute winner on Tuesday.“It’s sad to go out after that performance. We had more inside us and thought we would go further in the tournament,” said Sverrir Ingason.“That was our best game of the World Cup, we had many chances to score,” added the defender, whose second-half header hit the crossbar.After Milan Badelj put Croatia ahead early in the second half, a Gylfi Sigurdsson equaliser from a penalty meant the Nordic side were a goal away from their first-ever World Cup victory and a berth in the next round.Fans support Iceland during their match against Croatia in Rostov-on-Don © AFP / Khaled DESOUKI“We left everything on the pitch today. We go home proud from our first and not last World Cup,” said striker Alfred Finnbogason on Twitter alongside a picture of his shot which whistled past the post.“We had chances to win it so of course there is disappointment,” said coach Heimir Hallgrimsson. “But we did everything we could. If you do that you shouldn’t be disappointed. We can look each other in the eye, hold our heads high.”– Bittersweet –Thousands of fans travelled to distant Russia from the tiny nation — with a population of just 330,000, the smallest ever to qualify for a World Cup — while almost 100 percent of TV viewers were reported to have watched the games.Hallgrimsson praised the close bond with their fans, famed for their so-called “Viking thunder-clap”, and said during the past six years the team had found its identity.“We have really found our way. Everybody is on board in terms of football style, in character and values, and how we should behave as national team members,” he said.Iceland drew their opening match 1-1 against Argentina before losing their second game against Nigeria 2-0.Goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson, who saved a Lionel Messi penalty in the Argentina match, said he was optimistic about the team’s prospects.“There is a bright future ahead,” said the 34-year-old goalkeeper, who is also an accomplished film-maker, one of several members of the team with another job.The World Cup was a “great experience, albeit bittersweet having been so close,” Iceland football association official Omar Smarason told AFP.It was “one big chapter in the ongoing and rising history of Icelandic football. Success is not a destination, it is an endless journey. We hope to continue that journey for as long as we can,” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Story Highlights “Last year, we (tourism sector) earned nearly US$3 billion. And, at a retention level of 30 cents in the dollar, we had US$1 billion in the pockets of Jamaicans, and that’s a huge amount. Very few industries in Jamaica provide US$1 billion in circulation. The only thing that does better is remittance,” Mr. Bartlett pointed out. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says tourism has been the catalyst for the growth of the Jamaican economy, as it “enabled the value-added which lifted the gross domestic product (GDP) and indeed the growth rate on an annual basis”. Mr. Bartlett said among the things the Government is dedicated to do over the next few years “is to bring to the consciousness of Jamaicans the importance of tourism as a true driver of economic growth and development”. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says tourism has been the catalyst for the growth of the Jamaican economy, as it “enabled the value-added which lifted the gross domestic product (GDP) and indeed the growth rate on an annual basis”.Speaking at a Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) pilot review luncheon at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, on March 16, Mr. Bartlett said the record 4.3 million visitors to the island last year, for example, would have actualised tourism’s impact in other sectors, including agriculture, which would have been sufficient to lift the growth rate of the country.“Last year, we (tourism sector) earned nearly US$3 billion. And, at a retention level of 30 cents in the dollar, we had US$1 billion in the pockets of Jamaicans, and that’s a huge amount. Very few industries in Jamaica provide US$1 billion in circulation. The only thing that does better is remittance,” Mr. Bartlett pointed out.He said the Government is committed to building the capacity of Jamaicans to provide the goods and services needed by tourists, to ensure that a far greater percentage of the tourism dollar is retained here.Mr. Bartlett said among the things the Government is dedicated to do over the next few years “is to bring to the consciousness of Jamaicans the importance of tourism as a true driver of economic growth and development”.“So, we need to build out the capacity for us to provide more of the service and the goods that the visitor needs. And, if we do that, the wealth will be created and retained in Jamaica. It is in the context of that why we train and build the human capacity, because that is what is going to cause the conversion of knowledge to material and to tangible products that can be sold,” he added.The Minister said the JCTI, as a consequence, forms part of a “structured approach” being pursued by the Government “to make more of the tourism dollar stay in the country”.“Bring the visitors, but satisfy their needs. Thank you for the partnership, because this will help us to be able to develop better local products,” the Minister told members of the supporting organisations, which included the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).The role of the JCTI, which is part of the Government’s Human Capital Development Plan, is to facilitate the certification and licensure of Jamaicans working in tourism and to facilitate innovation in tourism.It is expected to become a globally competitive certification institution, and was born out of the Vision 2030 Tourism Sector Development Plan, which calls for the development of a training institution focused on developing a management cadre with the skills, knowledge and motivation required by tourism entities.