Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sport Services Export

There has been a strong and growing demand for services across economies for decades, but more and more reports from international agencies are pointing us towards a world service economy. Traditional services have grown exponentially; which has created an opportunity for new services boosting job creation and becoming a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings.

The tourism industry has a range of services available, from the basic bed and breakfast, all inclusive properties, and time share, to name a few; while the wedding services, events management are becoming increasingly popular.

The Caribbean has undergone some studies and what has been clear is there is a plethora of services available. The sport services are to be included as part of this package. This includes access to production, music, fashion, photography, film, writing, music, library studio services as part of an overall suite.

My Caribbean colleague, Peter Adrien, in his book on his book on Sport Tourism has posited that golf, water sports and cricket offer the greatest opportunities in the region.

Golf for example, as identified by a Sport Marketing Survey (2003) says there are 61.1 million golfers worldwide with 37.1 million in the USA; 13.6 million in Asia. Now when you look at the travel patterns of tourists from those regions it means the Caribbean can coordinate programmes to attract much more tourists from those regions. If the services are available to package the sport, destination and the support, then a product of sport and service is available.

There are some statistics we have that we can use to our benefit. Two of every five US adult tourist are sport travelers; most event travelers are spectators and tourists who travel for sporting events, will normally return for a leisure trip.

What then does the Caribbean need to do? Organise more golf tournaments. Integrate the sport and the entertainment elements and talk to major networks across the world to broadcast to a discerning audience. While Tiger Woods has been incredible for the golf world, there is now a need to find his successor and if we are able to have that discovery, facilitated in the Caribbean, what a wonderful opportunity that would be.

The region boasts some of the most fascinating golf courses this side of the world from Anguilla to St. Lucia. Jamaica and Barbados are suggested to have the best courses, so a partnership would also not be out of the question. In Jamaica Tryall and Half Moon are stand outs; while in Barbados, Sandy Lane and Royal Westmoreland are superior.

As part of the service offering, we look for practice facilities, clinics, professional training session, gym facilities and spa areas for relaxation. Housing developers are also in the mix to provide high-end and sophisticated homes for sale/long term leasing.

The Caribbean is destined for a place on the golf world map, and joint marketing may be the solution to get the world to come to the region for golf. We should plan a tri state championship, for example in Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua and invite Golf TV, ESPN and other networks across the globe to be a part. We could even be the place for the re-emergence of the Tiger. Fore!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


If there is ever a time the Jamaica sport and entertainment industries should combine efforts to maximize their earning potential it is now. Both industries have tremendous potential in the Jamaican context to do the following

- Attract far more visitors to the island by hosting major events
- Creating a more formal approach to the sectors
- Package both industries to have greater impact on the world market
- Create more job opportunities for the people of Jamaica
- Create even more opportunities for networking and partnerships with corporations and countries with similar interests

As the country’s athletes prepare for some major events across the world there are opportunities for both industries to refocus their attention to get into those markets.

So for next year, the export sector should prepare manufacturers and other business persons to go after Korea - 2011 World Athletics Championship; London – 2012 Summer Olympics; Brazil - 2014 World Cup Football. These are just a few of the regions which could create opportunities for growth in both sectors.

Jamaica’s Brand image is highlighted by the positive publicity both entertainment and sport offer to the country and while the world marvels at the performances of our athletes and artistes; more should be done to ensure that the economic prospects are created and maximized.

The national export strategy which seeks to champion the major export categories, should as part of its outreach, look for opportunities in those non-traditional areas.

Role of policy makers

The value of the entertainment and sport sectors has not been able to show tangible figures and because of that, there has been doubt in some quarters that the value is emotional. While both are seen as unifying forces on the social agenda, it is time to formalize the system to ensure that this value is measured and the figures be reported to see its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Some preliminary figures from the Jamaica Tourist Board (1998 – 2004) indicated that close to three per cent of visitor arrivals during that period, came for sport,; does it then follow that the spend of the sport tourist is comparable to the typical tourist and would virtually contribute three per cent to GDP? That would be an interesting discovery of the necessary tools is developed to capture that figure.

Countries who have been successful in measuring the value of sport/entertainment to their economies have worked with the research and development agencies to look at trends, travel practices and even events which would attract high end visitors for the specific events.

There is room for the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Universities of West Indies and Technology and the Ministries with responsibility for Sport, Tourism and Entertainment to consider this; which may very well form a significant chunk of the Tourism Master Plan for the country for the next ten to 15 years. That would present an incredible opportunity. The results could vary, but the effort is worth a try.
Note: The Trelawny Multi Purpose Stadium was a great alternative to house the 2010 Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival. I surely think it worked. What say you?