Saturday, February 6, 2010
SPORT and ENTERTAINMENT
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?