Bartlett wants more infrastructure, professionalism for sports tourism
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says infrastructure and professionalism are going to be key components if Jamaica is going drive its sports tourism product to the next level.
Bartlett says sports tourism in Jamaica has grown and is currently at a stage where it is more structured, and he revealed that his ministry is working along with Olivia 'Babsy' Grange in the sports ministry to get approval for the development of the product.
"Tourism is driving sports and entertainment as a big part of the network. One of the big reasons people travel is for sports, which is worth some three to four trillion dollars globally, and we think this area we can tap into," he told The Gleaner at the launch of the Pan American Handgun Championship at Emancipation Park recently.
"We have become more structured, as policy is very important, it helps define the perimeters in which we can operate and the minister of sports (Grange) and ourselves (Ministry of Tourism) are very close to bringing that to Cabinet for approval, and that will be a huge technical and theoretical arrangement that will give people space within which to operate," he said.
However, in order to be attractive and have a huge impact on the global audiences and visitors, Bartlett says developing the infrastructure and setting professional standards are going to be compulsory.
"Once that (parliamentary approval) is through we will look at the infrastructure that is needed. We cannot talk about sports tourism in any serious way unless we have infrastructure. We need larger stadiums, more sporting venues, training grounds and proper accommodation that are all specialised for sports activities.
"We have to know that professionalising a lot of areas is going to make our product attractive to the world. We are attracting some of the finest (international athletes) and that's very important. And with technology we get Jamaica into the living room of millions of people. But people are accustomed to seeing performances everywhere, so they want the best performances and we have to be the best at all times.
"All of that requires investment, and the investment has to be incentivised and placed in some kind of fiscal arrangement. But we must be more purposeful in terms of the investment," he added.