LIME'S chief executive officer (CEO) Chris Dehring is to head the newly formed Sports Tourism Implementation Committee (STIC).
Dehring, former managing director of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, leads a brand-name team that includes president of the Business of Sports and Usain Bolt's publicist, Carole Beckford, chairman of the Jamaica Football Federation technical committee and recently appointed development officer for CONCACAF, Howard McIntosh, and marketer Zachary Harding.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill announced the establishment of the committee on Monday.
His view is to convert the vast potential of sports tourism into practical initiatives and tangible output, says a media release from the Ministry of Tourism.
"This committee will support and complement the work of the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Ministry of Sports and its agencies," he stated during the launch of the Jamaica Soccer Cup at the Wyndham Kingston hotel recently.
"I view this initiative as a positive indication of the possibilities of sports tourism as we move to implement more and more tangible elements and continue to develop a sports tourism policy in tandem with the Ministry of Sports."
The committee's mandate is to identify and work with both local and overseas interests to create sports-focused events and activities. It is to effectively exploit the athletic dominance of Jamaica which was highlighted at the recent London Olympics and, in the process, actualise sporting opportunities for Jamaica's tourism industry.
The Tourism Minister has also drawn on the expertise of CEO of the West Indies Players' Association, Michael Hall, hotelier Jason Henzell of BREDS Treasure Beach Foundation - operators of the 17-acre integrated multi-purpose sports park in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, and senior communications strategist within the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and former director of tourism, Basil Smith, completing the STIC.
Outlining the work to be carried out by the committee, McNeill said the rationale behind the group's formation was to aid in the expansion of the tourism market.
"For our tourism sector to develop in the long term, we must diversify our market segments and, in order to do this, we need to attract and sustain new segments such as sports tourism by providing a wider range of offerings in our product portfolio.
"The potential for developing sports tourism as a viable market segment in Jamaica is tremendous, especially in the aftermath of Jamaica's dominance in track and field at the recent London Olympics," he noted.
CAPTION: Tourism and Entertainment Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill (second left) emphasises a point in discussion with the newly appointed Sports Tourism Implementation Committee chairman, Chris Dehring (second right), during Saturday's launch of the sports tourism project, the Jamaica Soccer Cup, at the Wyndham Kingston hotel. Looking on are executive director, Jamaica Soccer Cup, Jason Henzell (left), and Jamaica Football Federation director, Howard McIntosh. - Contributed