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Sports tourism opportunities

 

posted by Focused on July 18, 2009 @ 5:31 pm in BUSINESS

 

        One can strongly argue that Jamaica has yet to maximize its tourism potential. Although the all-inclusive format seems to generate must of the tourism revenue (I do not have the official figures to confirm it), other forms of tourism could easily generate substantial amounts of money. One particular form of tourism comes to mind: Sports tourism.

 

        I believe that Jamaica hasn't even scratched the surface of its potential when it comes to sports tourism. Let us first look at sports tourism from an amateur athlete and sports fan perspective. Fantastic performances in Beijing 2008 earned our track & field brand millions of new fans around the world. This not only serves to highlight the quality of our athletes and coaches but should also cause one to become aware of ways to capitalize on our global fan base.

 

            Kids around the world now dream of being like Usain Bolt or Shelly-Ann Fraser. Wouldn't they love the possibility of visiting the country that gave birth to and shaped their sports idols? Enter the idea of organizing and packaging international track camps for those amateur athletes. The concept wouldn't take much to sell to prospect buyers as parents could travel with their children and enjoy a vacation at the same time.

 

     Jamaica's hosting of the annual Jamaica International track meet in Kingston is a step forward for many reasons. A country that has produced so many great sprinters deserves to host an international track meet. The symbolic aspect of the event also makes it an attractive draw for overseas track fans. It could be to track fans what Sumfest is to reggae fans. Let us not forget to address elite sports tourism.

 

        American professional sports teams from the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) have relatively long off-seasons. The off-season stretches from February to July in the NFL, June to late September in the NBA and from October to March in Major League Baseball. Players spend a small portion of this time resting but spend most of it working on their physical fitness. Some players train at their team facilities but an increasing number of players choose to train elsewhere with the help of a personal trainer. Enter Jamaica once again.

 

          Jamaica's abundance of high level track coaches is an appealing factor for any pro athlete wishing climb the echelons of athletic performance. One could easily see an efficient system put in place. The overseas-based athlete comes to Jamaica for a portion of the off-season, trains hard during the day and enjoys the relaxation that the island has to offer in the evenings. The Jamaica-based coach gets to earn extra money and expand his network of clients into something international.

 

   A high number of baseball teams hold their spring training events in Florida. There is no reason why Jamaica couldn't break into that market. Teams like to have their training camps in locations where there is a balance between nature and urbanization. Jamaica has that. The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team usually holds its training camp in Hawaii (a 5 hour flight). Jamaica could easily host teams like the Miami Heat or  the Orlando Magic. The teams wouldn't have to travel far and, in addition to that, there wouldn't be any need to build an indoor facility to accommodate them. The National Indoor Arena is sufficient.

 

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Tags : Jamaica,Sports, tourism, business, NBA, NFL, Professional sports, hospitality, training
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Comments

Comment by Focused on August 12, 2009 @ 12:50 pm
@shu2ful. We must definitely diversify our portfolio. We have so much to offer, we need to invest in our human capital. Jamaicans are so creative. I agree with you 100%, we need to stop depleting our natural resources.

 

Comment by shu2ful on August 3, 2009 @ 6:01 pm
Great article. It speaks to creative entrepreneurship and business development. It is a long time coming that Jamaicans seek to explore our human resources and natural talents (which are so vast) Our natural resources have been burden for too long. We must diversify what we offer to strengthen our portfolio of foreign exchange earners and this is a great business opportunity.

 

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