Big bucks to be made in sports tourism
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Jamaica's Carole Beckford is to be one of the featured speakers on the world's fastest-growing niche market at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's (CTO), Caribbean Week in Manhattan, New York, tomorrow.
Beckford, an author and presenter on sports tourism, is among a top-notch team of speakers billed to address US travel agents at a CTO workshop tagged 'Tapping into the lucrative niche of sports tourism'.
The workshop is designed to help travel agents learn about the relationship between sports and tourism, how to identify sports enthusiasts, how to capture their attention and match them with the sporting activity in which they wish to be a spectator or participant.
"This workshop is critical in bringing about a greater awareness of the demands of the travel trade. There is so much more travel these days which is spurred on by sporting events," Beckford told The Sunday Gleaner.
She said that sports tourists are in the top-10 spending tourists in the world, and one of the reasons they travel is because more families are using sports as a vacation.
According to Beckford, who is publicist for the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, the business of sports has also become a lot more engaging and fans are being pulled all over the world to see their favourite sport stars.
Beckford noted that Brand Jamaica is beginning to take the sports tourism market seriously, but admits that this area requires effective planning.
"The multifaceted approach has to be used to ensure that all sides of the industry benefit. While Jamaica may not have the capacity to host major events for a number of sports, there are opportunities for networking events - golf, tennis, beach sports and some other non-traditional events. Our location and weather, specifically for outdoor events are a plus," stated Beckford, who has studied and researched the sport and tourism industries.