Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sport Stars and facilities to drive Sport Tourism in Jamaica



By Carole Beckford

Between August 8 and 24, 2008, lots of attention will be focused on Beijing, China for the Summer Olympic Games. Jamaica’s representation will come from a number of sporting areas, but track and field will remain the most watched.

How will Jamaica use its preparation in the upcoming year to capitalise on sport tourists to come to Jamaica? Sport tourists are becoming some of the most high-spending tourists around the world and major or well planned events are just what they want to attend.

Apart from the Summer Olympic Games, there is the World Track and Field Championship in 2009 and then the World Cup Football in 2010.

Are there any major sporting events on the calendar for 2008 to be held at the Independence Park Limited Complex; Sabina Park, Trelawny Multi Purpose Complex?
I know of Gibson Relays on February 23; Boys and Girls Championships – March 12 – 15; International Track & Field – May 3 and host of international football friendlies.

Jamaica should use its great sporting stars and institutions to lure visitors to the island, so the country can capitalise on the ever-growing sport tourism market. There must be collaboration with the agencies and personnel with the expertise to attract the visitors to watch, play and experience sport in Jamaica.

How the stars can help?

The world’s fastest man, Asafa Powell and some of his colleagues will be in Australia undergoing preparation for upcoming events. He along with other athletes should be asked to promote Jamaica as a sport tourist destination. Two hours a week should be enough for starters.

They should be given a sport map, outlining where the major facilities are, where the accommodation spaces are and important dates on the calendar, so they are armed with enough information to distribute. Some other information could include capacity of the facilities. Any other teams traveling could be brought in under this programme.

The Ministry of Tourism along with the Ministry of Sport should merge efforts to launch this programme; a good push for sport for the New Year.

Advertising at other major events

Just up north, our neighbours in the U.S.A. will as always as usual host a variety of events. The NBA All-star game will be in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 17 that should be a glorious opportunity which would require creative marketing. Then there is the US Open Tennis in New York in August another great chance.

Planning will be key to these endeavours and we ought to be very vigilant but smart in how we approach these efforts to improve our figures for tourist arrivals in Jamaica.

Sport Management Course

A ten week comprehensive course will be launched in February 2008 to look at Sport Management. The course will look at the functional areas of sport management; while identifying cultural and historical features of sport. The course will help to prepare persons who have been and are interested in planning major sporting events, in line with Jamaica’s hope to stamp a mark in this aspect of sport.

Watch this space for more information.

Note: My condolence to Herb McKenley’s family and friends. Herb lived a great life, he contributed a lot to the development of track & field and sport in Jamaica. We will miss him, but his legacy will live on.

Happy Holidays! ©

1 comment:

Pleasantly Plump said...

Hi:

I think we here in the Caribbean need to change our mind set about sport. maybe we need to find a different word, as when we say sport we are still thinking 'fun and frolic'. Here is Barbados we are hurt immensely by that attitude as our people expect our atheletes to do well at major events but don't see the need to support them financially and sometimes even pyschiologically. but there are those among us who are trying desperately to change that. As is happening with our cricket, i think it is finally coming home that talent is no longer enought