Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Joint Marketing for Sport Tourism and Entertainment
Ever since the days of Reggae Sunsplash and in recent times Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica has had a tremendous impact on the entertainment market both at home and abroad. Equally, sporting events hosted in Jamaica has had equal impact, from the Norman Manley Games to the May Invitational. So what this means, is, there is great importance on cultural and sporting events.
In capitalizing on the synergy which exists, the country has to be committed to ensuring that the systems are in place for joint marketing to take place. In these trying economic times, creativity in promotion is way more necessary.
There first has to be political commitment. At the planning level, however, the best event planners must be consulted. Also all the stakeholders have to be on board for this to be successful; from small to large properties. When the crowds come, we ought to have the capacity to accommodate them. Plan these events for when tourist arrival is at the peak periods, so there is guaranteed support from the overseas market.
Studies have shown that the people who like entertainment, generally like sport and vice versa. As promoters in this country we should first of all agree that sport = entertainment. So whether it is a sport event or a concert, we must give the consumers value for their money. It would even be more worthwhile when they are combined in the same package.
In 1999, the Germans reported a total of 58 million outbound holiday trips. Of that total they reported that 32 million or 55 per cent involved a sport oriented trip. The report also stated that 55 per cent of that total were men, ages 35 – 44 years of age, who spent from four to seven nights spending anywhere between 250 – 499 Euros each.
The same report highlighted that also in 1999, 52 per cent of the 13 million outbound holiday trips from the Netherlands involved a sport oriented trip with the same spend, but the most dominant age group was men aged 25 – 34 years of age. While France had a 23 per cent of its travelers attending sport related trips, they spent up to 500 – 749 Euros each.
How have we capitalized on those three markets in marketing Jamaica as a sport tourism destination? It was suggested at a sport tourism conference some years ago that sport makes a society feel like themselves (again), especially in a time of stress.
The talent in both sport and entertainment is plenty in Jamaica and so we have the basic ingredients. I know there are some calendar events which may not be easy to adjust, so let us work with what we have. Jazz and Blues in January – how about another triathlon then? We have 3,000 extra rooms built in recent times.
Sumfest in July…how about a beach football, beach volleyball, mountain climbing tournament? These are just a few of the non traditional sporting events which attract the sport and entertainment tourists.
I want us to try these new and innovative ways in our thinking. I see where the Jamaica Tourist Board has appointed an officer to pay close attention to sport tourism. It has to be the best move in a long while. I just hope Howard McIntosh gets the support he will need for the programmes to be effective.