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Atlantis expects huge return from Heat’s camp

  • Miami Heat small forward LeBron James speaks to reporters during the first day of a pre-season training camp at Atlantis. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 02, 2013

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The Miami Heat training camp will translate into more than just increased occupancy at the Atlantis Resort, but will also help to promote the country internationally, according to Atlantis' Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Ed Fields.

"These are not only heads and beds...these are very important marketing events," Fields told reporters shortly after the players wrapped up their morning practice at the resort, which constructed two basketball courts in its ballroom to facilitate the camp.

Fields said Atlantis booked a "couple hundred" rooms as a result of the highly publicized camp.

More importantly, however, he said the publicity that the camp is getting will impact the resort positively in the long run.

"This is obviously a slow time of the year, so any business we're happy to have, but more so [it's good] for the future of the destination, and by destination I mean both Atlantis and The Bahamas,” he said.

"You have lots of media who are here who are not only going to be covering the team, but also covering The Bahamas and the destination."

The Miami Heat organization announced last week that it would conduct its two-day pre-season training camp at Atlantis.  The team won the 2013 NBA championship.

While not revealing how much Atlantis had to invest to construct the courts, Fields said, “When you put these types of things in place, the returns on investment far outweigh what you spend.”

Fields said the training camp proves what The Bahamas is capable of doing as it relates to sports tourism.

"This shows our potential as a country to host many, many events...They will come if the facilities are here,” he said.

“There are many, many people who will come to The Bahamas, enjoy The Bahamas and get away from the usual routine and what they have to deal with.

“...If we do more and more of these things, it’s only going to bode well for the destination and Ministry of Tourism."

When asked about the facility at Atlantis, Miami Heat shooting guard Dwayne Wade said, "They built my fantasy camp”.

"It's awesome that we're able to come. First we'd like to thank Atlantis and Ministry of Tourism for having us here.

“We're here to work as well as clear our mind and refresh our mind. But the biggest thing is they gave us a great place to come and work.”

Heat center Chris Bosh also thanked Atlantis, the Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamian people for the warm welcome the team received.

The team was greeted with a Junkanoo rush out at Odyssey Aviation on Monday night.

“It was nice,” Bosh said. “It really surprised everybody…It was cool that they were showing us love out there in the rain like that. That was awesome.”

Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra said the Junkanoo group’s performance energized his players.

“It was pretty cool,” he said. “We got in after nine, but they had so much energy I think they were ready to practice last night.”

Also commenting on the Junkanoo performance, Miami Heat forward Lebron James said, “It was great to be welcomed like that with open arms to the islands. I thought it was pretty cool. We are humbled by that.”

James and Bosh said they look forward to visiting the country again.

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