Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Model for Sport Tourism

From the athletes who travel to participate in sporting activities to the fans who travel to observe, that is the real definition of a sport tourist.

And where will they be this summer? As I mentioned in my last contribution, 'Diary of a sport tourist', there are so many sporting events to observe this summer, but what are the other attractions which could really force me to make a decision to go to any destination apart from sport? What really does sweeten the pie?

Take Jamaica, for instance. Up to September, there are a number of events which could be of interest in the areas of football (soccer), basketball, cricket, netball, volleyball, polo, horse racing, golf, just to name a few. But what are the other factors why I would come to Jamaica to watch these events?

Exponential growth

What we should first acknowledge is that the ability to understand the model of sport has changed and it is not just the feel-good factor of when a team of choice wins or one of our athletes has done well. It is a situation where there is a significant amount of money which can be had from the associations with media, merchandisers and tour operators. The sport tourism industry has grown exponentially and has attracted, since 2007, a sport tourism search engine, which was set up in 2007.

At the click of a mouse

What this website/operation aims to achieve is to be the largest database for sports events in the world. In taking a tour of the website, I was able to look at prices for tickets, seating locations, directions to venues, hotels and flights. These are accompanied with a map which outlines other attractions close by, including restaurants, nightclubs, etc.

Imagine a golf tournament is at Cinnamon Hill, which would be the 'star' location, then the map would entail the hotels, restaurants and other attractions close by. Or if there is a track and field meet in Kingston, the visitors should be able to purchase tickets online and see the layout so they know where they want to sit and then decide on all the other activities thereafter. We must, however, bear in mind that the sporting event is the main attraction, but it does equally well to have great additional activities to engage after the event is all over.

I hope Jamaica can register its major sporting events on that website so we can pick up a few additional visitors to our shores for the upcoming fall 2009 to spring 2010 season.

Some economies have reported that as much as 20 per cent of its visitors come to participate in sports and an additional 50 per cent comes to observe (watch). So, let us get on the new model for sport tourism and capitalise on the media-corporations-merchandising-markets model. As we prepare for Berlin 2009 and London 2012, let us bear those things in mind.

Events to look forward to in Jamaica this summer

Reggae Sumfest - July 19-25

Polo, July 25-August 1

International Marlin - September 26-30

Wata Rose Hall Triathlon and Wellness Festival - October 31.

I say we have space for a few more events.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Diary of a Sport Tourist

Dear diary,

Even in this time of recession this is a very exciting time for me and there are a few sporting events I want to attend this year. For the track and field fans we are all focused on the World track and field cham- pionships scheduled for Berlin, Germany, from August 15 to 23.

But before that there are a few track meets to go to, to see what the athletes are looking like.

Here are some tips for planning a trip:

Plan to travel with a group

Call your travel agent early so you can look at options for reasonable tickets

Book tickets for the event online

Call your friends in the city you are going to; you may be able to stay with them

Car pool if you must

If you are staying at a hotel, stay close to the venue

Look for the bus schedules (lots of hotels have free shuttles).

June 11, 2009

Usain Bolt is scheduled to be in Canada at the University of Toronto for the Festival of Excellence. He is up against US Olympian Shawn Crawford.

June 13 to 14

Jamaica's national junior track and field championships.

June 18 to 21

United States Golf Open, Long Island.

June 22, 2009

Wimbledon Tennis serves off in the UK

June 26 to 28

Jamaica's National Track and Field Championship in Kingston (the hottest and fastest athletes on the planet compete for a place in Berlin.

June 26 and 28

One Day International Cricket (India vs West Indies)

July 18

First Test in the Ashes series, England vs Australia (cricket)

Here are some other tips:

Pack lightly so you do not get charged for extra luggage

If you don't have to, do not check on. Harder for you to lose your bag

Get smaller travel size accessories (lotion, toothpaste, soap); some of these may even be available at the hotel

Find a hotel where continental breakfast is served (you do not have to buy regular breakfast)

Take a small camera so you can record the memories

Go to an internet kiosk close by to check your emails

Find easy ways to text your family back home.

Happy and safe travel!

The Trelawny debate continues

Here is feedback I received.

Adel wrote:

I read your article and found it disturbing that everyone seems to want the stadium to be used for sports. I think it would be a great idea to have the facility used as the western campus for UTech. Education is the key to social development. The sporting facility will still be there to host local and international events. As Jamaicans, we need to think about our long-term goals instead of these quick- fix methods.

Let's think how economically viable UTech would be in serving the schools in the immediate surroundings. The Government and others are only focused on sports and foreign exchange. We need to think about the future of the children of Jamaica in our planning. Of course, Trelawny is not only for yam and Olympians. Let's think about future architects, doctors, lawyers, teachers, welders, engineers, masons, carpenters, etc.