Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sport Tourism Events and Branding

Carole Beckford, Contributor

Lights! Camera! Action!
June 27 - 29
National Stadium
"You would not want to miss this."

Is it a new movie? Is it the launch of a new drink? Is it Reggae Sumfest? Is it Portland Jerk Festival? No! It is the national track and field championship, June 27 to 29.

This event will be used to select the Jamaican track and field contingent for the 29th Summer Olympic Games for Beijing, China, August 8-24. This year in particular is shaping up to be one of the most, if not the most, exciting trials in a very long time.

Well, thanks to the usual top-class performances from our athletes since January, we can certainly look forward to close and nail-biting finishes in a number of events. I know you are thinking that the 100 metres for men is the stellar event, and maybe it is, but there are the 100 and 200 metres for women and the 400 metres for women which will be closely competed.

be a part of history

Wherever you are, plan to be a part of history and attend the meet for three days of 'world beaters on track'.

So the question here then is, do these major events have a brand image? Sure they do. Where else in the world can you find three or more athletes who are in the top ten in the world for 100, 200 metres (men and women) and 100 metres hurdles (women)? Nowhere else - except in Jamaica. And we should brand it accordingly. 'World beaters compete for spot on Olympic team' - a possible theme for the trials.


We have to look at it from the spectators' perspectives at all times and what the expectations are likely to be and there are three questions we should try to answer:

1. What are the attributes of the event?

2. What are the benefits of the event?

3. What are the attitudes toward the event?

A lot of these questions can be answered by the media exposure, word of mouth (that is still the best tool for promotion these days); and from all the other experiences of great track meets we have hosted in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association and its officials have to take credit for the fact that they have been hosts to well-run events for a long time and the national trials 2008 will be no different. So let's get this show on the road.

I have deliberately stayed away from calling names of these athletes and I know the sport columnists/writers will do enough of that. Needless to say, Jamaica has a plethora of athletes who can perform creditably in a number of events and they should be encouraged to 'keep on track'.

PS: Whether we get insane (Usain) or we go faster (Asafa), June 27-29 will be as good a time as ever to be in Jamaica. Book your tickets early! And remember, we have some of the finest restaurants in Kingston.

published: Hospitality Jamaica, Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blackwell has his own rum

Entertainment guru, Chris Blackwell, has launched his own line of rum...Black(well) Gold. Blackwell is currently on his Jamaica tour, having done Kingston and Montego Bay already.

In Kingston, the launch was at Terra Nova and in Montego Bay at the Pavillion at Half Moon.

Blackwell will take the tour to other major cities across the world.

Reggae and rum...what a great combination

Cecile Levee and Blackwell sharing a joke (Photo 1)

Blackwell sharing with Lennox Lewis and his partners from J. Wray & Nephew Photo 2)

Beyond the Asafa-Bolt hype

Are the JAAA, JTB cashing-in at National Trials?
BY ANDREW HANCEL Observer staff reporter
Sunday, June 15, 2008

When Usain Bolt broke Asafa Powell's world record recently, many avenues open. Bolt and Powell are now expected to meet over the distance at the Jamaica Olympic Trials (June 27-29) in a contest that has already triggered massive interest around the globe.

Established international media entities such has BBC, ESPN, FoxSports and NBC and a host of other broadcasting agencies from as far as Japan, Italy and L'Equipe of France, have all indicated their desire to give coverage to this stellar event.

But beyond the hype and drama that is about to unfold at the National Stadium in Kingston, the issue of how the nation can capitalise on the expected influx of revenue gathers momentum.

At a glance the possibilities are endless. By virtue of Jamaica being a great tourist destination, coupled with its world acclaimed reggae music, the little Caribbean island stands to benefit immensely - if shrewdly and prudently executed - from these Olympic Trials.

From the look of things, however, the governing body for the sport, the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA), appears to have already dropped the baton.

Carole Beckford, author of the book, Keeping Jamaica's Sport on Track, indicate that another opportunity to market Jamaica via sport could go abegging.

"One of the things that we fail to do effectively is to mix sports with entertainment, because that is a package all to its self," Beckford told Sunday Observer in a recent interview.

"We've been in the Olympics for 60 years, so it's time to re-engage our youngsters and our people into Jamaica's history of... the Olympics games," she pointed.

Meanwhile, Jamaica gained invaluable experience in the hosting of major events from the 2002 World Junior Championships and the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

Knowing what it takes to stage a world event, the onus is now on the key players, including the government, to bring added value to this upcoming event - arguably is the most highly anticipated pre-Olympics meet heading into the 29th Olympiad in Beijing, China.
According to the website, Sport Tourism is a multi-billion dollar business and one of the fastest growing of the US$4.5 trillion global travel and tourism industry.

But delving into this is relatively virgin territory in the Jamaican context and for the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), notes Beckford.

"It's (for) the Jamaica Tourist Board to now see the National Trials as a major event and package it properly so that it will engage and attract people to come into the country... associate it with the entertainment package," said Beckford.

Tourism Minister, Ed Bartlett, told the Sunday Observer that "Sport Tourism will become the centre-piece of the tourism new marketing approach to drive greater visitor arrivals into the country".
But it still remains unclear whether the JTB is on board for the most important weekend in June.

When contacted, lead organiser of the Jamaica Trials, Ludlow Watts, had little say.

"We're in our planning stage now and I don't want to make a lot of comment... but... a lot of interests is being generated. All the various components are being processed right now... and a lot of interest is being shown in the championships. We're actually planning for a high-quality meet," Watts stated.

"We expect it to be high quality based on the performance of the athletes and we in turn want... to provide a good structure and ensure that we have a good Championship for the benefit of the athletes and the spectators..."

It is yet to be seen, however, to what degree Jamaica reaps benefits from parading on local soil the two fastest human beings that have ever lived.

Taken from the Jamaica Observer