JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The country’s ability to capitalise on prospects and earnings related to sport tourism has been boosted with the establishment of ‘Jamaica Sport’.
  • A Technical Working Group established by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, and the Ministry of Sport, Jamaica Sport will serve as a public/private entity, which will coordinate and develop sport tourism locally.
  • The initiative will explore the commercial opportunities provided by sport tourism, and leverage Brand Jamaica and sporting events held locally and internationally.

The country’s ability to capitalise on prospects and earnings related to sport tourism has been boosted with the establishment of ‘Jamaica Sport’.

A Technical Working Group established by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, and the Ministry of Sport, Jamaica Sport will serve as a public/private entity, which will coordinate and develop sport tourism locally.

The initiative will explore the commercial opportunities provided by sport tourism, and leverage Brand Jamaica and sporting events held locally and internationally, to ensure that the country maximizes marketing and promotional opportunities, while attracting additional visitors to the island.

Speaking at the official launch on October 1, at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in New Kingston, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said the time has come for Jamaica “to reap the economic benefits spurred by the success of our athletes on the track and field of play.”

He said that in carrying out its work, Jamaica Sport will anchor and execute the objectives of a major events attraction programme, commissioned by JAMPRO, which outlines the blueprint for establishing Jamaica as the major sport tourism destination in the region.

“The major events attraction programme will target events that yield maximum economic, social and infrastructure benefits with minimum amount of social displacement or disruption of normal economic activity,” he said, noting that Jamaica Sports will also spearhead the implementation of the National Sport Policy of Jamaica.

Dr. McNeill said Jamaica Sport is ready to roll out its plan of action under the guidance of the Sport Tourism Implementation Committee, chaired by well known businessman, Chris Dehring.

The initiative also includes representatives of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and other knowledgeable and important stakeholders.

In her remarks, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, said the synergies between tourism and sport will drive Jamaica to attain new heights and allow each sector to make greater contributions to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

She noted that sport is big business and has the potential to attract tremendous earnings for the country, noting that some 900,000 football tourists visited Britain in 2013, spending £706 million.

She noted that while Jamaica cannot yet offer any major recurring schedule of international events to attract sports tourism at that level, “with careful planning, we can however offer many attractive alternatives at the micro-level, which in conjunction with our natural beauty, cultural richness and diversity, and our culinary expertise, will make Jamaica a super sports tourism destination.”

She informed that the Guidelines for Hosting International Events have been developed and are expected to be ratified by the National Council on Sport. “These guidelines will form the basis of how we operate jointly in seeking to attract international events,” she noted.

She said consultations are to be held with the various stakeholders to ensure that everyone is familiar with the guidelines and to put a feasible framework in place to support the various sporting bodies in successfully implementing profitable events.

Jamaica Sport, will, among other things: coordinate with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in developing an economic model to assess sport events; and partner with the Institute of Sports (INSPORT) to develop athletes and nurture world class talent as an important component of an athlete Ambassador-type programme that capitalises on Brand Jamaica, and raises the public relations profile of elite athletes for the country’s economic benefit.