Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sport Tourism through Schools

Jamaica’s Sport Tourism product could get a boost in 2010, when the world’s largest organisers of sport tours, Edwin Doran Sports Travel (EDST), take its first tour here. Members of the team recently visited Jamaica to look at the opportunities and there is optimism that the deal will be sealed soon.

One of the advantages of that kind of relationship is, Jamaica’s school sport system is a cultural phenomenon and at anytime a competitive team in any sport can be found to participate in a series of tournaments. That should boost the efforts of Physical Education teachers in the school system to better prepare their students in imparting the knowledge and information geared at competing at this level.

The tours are generally arranged around the Easter period and include cricket, football, netball, hockey, rugby and lacrosse. The tour has been to the Caribbean region, but has been in the Eastern Caribbean, but shows intention of heading into different areas of the region...with Jamaica in mind.

Apart from the school tours, there are additional opportunities for creation of High Performance Centres in the respective sporting disciplines which aim to provide intense training and preparation for top-level competition even beyond the school years.

Jamaica should welcome this opportunity and the Jamaica Tourist Board’s involvement so far suggests that Sport Tourism is being seriously considered as a way to add diversity to the current tourism product.

The head masters of schools along with representatives of EDST toured the island and looked at locations where the sports could be accommodated. They also met with representatives of the sporting organisations who could assist in the planning and coordination of these tours and tournaments. Netball, cricket, track and field were well represented, well certainly at the meeting in Kingston. It will be a welcome opportunity for school sports in Jamaica and in the end sport tourism.
Teams Conference in New Orleans
Jamaica had representation at the recently concluded Teams Conference in New Orleans where the top sports people gathered. They came from marketing companies, hotel chains, teams and at least 20 sporting franchises across the US. Marsha Lawrence, Brand Warriors, Technology Innovation Centre, was the sole Jamaican company represented at the event. Lawrence in an interview said she has “renewed respect for Sports Marketers and great enthusiasm for all the possibilities that exist for Jamaica.”
Lawrence also spoke with an ESPN senior executive who suggested that Jamaica could be a destination for a version of the renowned Strong Man competition. That would be something new and different.
A famous quote which emerged from the Teams Conference is by Publisher of Sports Travel Magazine, Timothy Schneider... “by concentrating our attention in the places where difficulty can be replaced by opportunity, the sport-event industry has the chance to help lead the recovery of the travel industry and play an even bigger role as an economic- development engine for communities large and small.”
News: Stop in Montego Bay for the Rose Hall Triathlon on Saturday, October 31. Head over to Negril for the Reggae Marathon on Saturday, December 5.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boosting Opportunities for Sport Tourism

Networking is an important tool to be used in any profession to enhance the chances of greater linkages. That too is true of the sport industry. So while Jamaica has the athletes, venues and the officials to coordinate major sporting events; it is also important to attend major shows across the world to network for greater opportunities.
One such opportunity will be happening in New Orleans this week (October 13 to 17) where the world’s largest gathering of sport event organisers will be. The Teams 2009 Conference and Expo is an event which attracts 38 top sponsorship organisations – hotel chains, convention centres, and key suppliers to the sport industry.
The world has continued to marvel at the economic value of an organised sport industry and a conference of this nature presents a great opportunity for developing countries like Jamaica to be with the movers and shakers in this industry.
The format of the five day event will include a conference programme with leading experts who share the latest inside information. There is a massive trade show with more than 300 sports-event suppliers and destinations that provides new contacts and ideas. There are also personal appointment sessions that allows quality time with event organizers and industry leaders and finally the networking sessions and social functions that help build valuable relationships for today and tomorrow.
Brand Warriors, of the Technology Innovation Centre, University of Technology will be in attendance for Jamaica and will bring back valuable experience to the country which should be managed for effectiveness.
There are a number of conferences to come on stream in 2010 and Jamaica as Sport Tourism destination; also as a place where there are facilities for further training in Sport and Physical Education should capitalise on some of these opportunities as the country aims to earn from the billion dollar industry.
There is the 2010 Sports Industry Networking and Career Conference scheduled for March in Washington. In Vienna in July, there is a Sport Engineering Association Conference where the focus is on technology and innovation for sport and science. There are a number of opportunities and if Jamaica wants to be successful in other aspects of the industry, it has to reach out of the box, if even for networking opportunities initially.

Major Events
In the tourist capital, Montego Bay on October 31, the second running of the WATA Rose Hall Triathlon will be on, which will feature some of the world’s top triathletes. The event, only in its second year, has managed to attract Olympic quality athletes among a list of other keen competitors. An added attraction is the triathlon for children, scheduled for November 1 on the same course. For more go to
Later this year the Reggae Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, December 5 in Negril, then later that evening, a 9.58 SuperParty is on for the Richmond Estate, St. Ann to be hosted by Usain Bolt.
The plan for the restructuring of the Trelawny Sport Complex is welcome as the location is ideal for hosting major sporting and entertainment events.