The sport industry in Trinidad and Tobago could be bringing more than just trophies and titles to this country.
This from former Board Member of the Sport Company of T&T and national cricketer, Colin Murray, who said T&T’s “successful” hosting of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is proof that the country is an ideal destination for sport tourism. He was speaking during a virtual conference hosted yesterday by the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute.
Murray noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has stunted economic growth and believes the time has come for sport to be seen as more than just games.
He emphasized, “Far greater focus has to be placed on sports tourism, commercialisation of the sporting facilities and the use of technology to market and promote Trinidad and Tobago as a sport tourism destination.”
Murray, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the board of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, said there are many benefits to be derived from focusing on sports.
He explained among these benefits are; “Increase in foreign direct revenue, foreign exchange generation, and foreign investment and participation.”
Murray also pointed out that Tobago offers something different to the sporting world, through its tranquil environment, making it a key player in what he hopes will be a “serious sports tourism plan.”
This plan, he stated should roll out a sporting calendar, which would not only increase regional and international competitions but, also, eliminate the tussle among countries when there is a clash of events.
Meanwhile, one of the founders of the Caribbean Associations of Events Professionals, Roxanne Pantin, echoed Murray’s sentiments. However, she went a step further to call for the Caribbean to be marketed as an entire community.
“We have so much sport conferences that happen around the world that should be happening in the Caribbean,” she said.
In Jamaica, Chairman of the Gastronomy Network, Nicola Madden-Greig, said the country has its eyes on medical tourism but agreed that more should be done to enhance sport tourism in the wider region.
She indicated that the pandemic had crippled the tourism sector in Jamaica since the country’s borders were closed on March 21st.
Visitor arrivals, she said had dropped 75 per cent when compared to last year.