'Work together on sports tourism'
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Wykeham McNeill has charged tourism and sports stakeholders to work together to maximise the potential of sports tourism and its benefits to Jamaica. "Given the strength of Brand Jamaica and our prominence in sports, there is no limit to the success we can achieve if we come together," he said.
McNeill was addressing stakeholders at a Jamaica Sports Workshop held Thursday at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. The workshop introduced two models for evaluating the economic impact of sports events: STEAM Jamaica (Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model) and Media PRO.
"The value of sports tourism is said to be over US$600 billion internationally. Given Jamaica's prominence in sports and the strength of our brand, we have to ensure we can get a slice of this pie," said McNeill.
He pointed out that sports tourism affects the host country in two ways: the direct effect of attendance of competitors, spectators, and other persons; and the indirect effect that comes from marketing the destination. McNeill cited the successful Jamaica House concept, an initiative that leverages the global focus on the Jamaican track and field team at major sporting events to market Jamaica.
"Prior to 2012, we had experienced four consecutive years of negative growth in visitor arrivals out of the UK. In 2012, we hosted Jamaica House at the London Olympics. In 2013, we saw the positive impact in an increase in arrivals; in 2014 arrivals increased by 17.5 per cent; and since the start of 2015, we have had a 27 per cent increase in arrivals out of the UK," he said.
McNeill welcomed the introduction of STEAM Jamaica, which would project and measure the economic impact of both sports and entertainment, and Media PRO, which will measure the media value and reach of these events.