Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sport Tourism and Spring Break

Sports tourism and spring break

By now most destinations would have had their spring break plans in place and are hoping for higher numbers in visitor arrivals for this part of the winter tourist season.

Once Ash Wednesday passes, we know spring break is near. Entertainment is vital to this period, but I daresay we should, and must, include sport this time around to attract a different crowd to add to the already stressed college students who just want to have a great time on a tropical isle.

traditional sporting competitions

The real deal is the traditional sporting competitions may not work for spring breakers, but I am sure they will climb a rock for a margarita, or they would row a canoe across the ocean for a weekend for two, maybe even swim a channel or ride a five-mile distance. One thing is sure: They would apply physical skills while having fun and capturing a major prize, which has to be exciting.

What I also know is that these activities are done at individual properties, but I am advocating for these skill competitions to be done under the Jamaica Tourist Board banner and marketed as destination activity.

This would help to alleviate the stigma attached to spring break, which now seems to be boobs and booze. In addition to attracting just the MTV, BET-type stations, ESPN could be an outlet for the more sport oriented type of activity.

How about looking at a Brand Jamaica Strongest Man competition 'live' from Montego Bay, Jamaica? Now wouldn't that be something?

Another great idea would be to invite a professional team from the US or UK here for training for spring break. Major League baseball starts in the US on April 6 this year, so for next year, let's look at one of those teams which are located in one of the colder cities and have them here for a spring break practice session for a few days.

Let's take the Chicago White Sox, for example, a divisional champion of 2008. There are direct flights from Chicago; it gets very cold there and it is Obama's city. Just imagine the media attention the trip would make.

special invitations

We could work on the invitation immediately. Jamaica also has great ties with that city, so it may not be too difficult to get that arrangement going.

Some major cities across the US have not marketed their destination as a spring break attraction. Broward County in Florida, for example has suggested that "dropping spring break since 1986 has seen an increase from half a million to 10.8 million in 2008, over 20 years."

Jamaica, therefore, has to drive the demand for its new clientele by creating the products which are in demand.

Note: A campaign to plan for 2010 'Discover Jamaica for Spring Break 2010': Use our schools as an exercise in knowing our own country and then invite the world to do same.

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