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Professor of Sport, Event and Tourism Management at The George Washington University School of Business, Dr. Lisa Delpy Neirotti, has called on the region to use the staging of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup for the promotion of tourism in the region.
Dr. Neirotti, who was addressing the inaugural meeting of the institution’s Leadership Council on the university campus in Washington DC recently, said “the host countries need to develop a strategic plan outlining proactive measures before, during, and after the competition in order to maximize tourism opportunities around Cricket World Cup”.
These measures, she said, include media familiarization trips and outreach to other event organizers interested in bringing regional or international competitions to the Caribbean. She also urged dialogue with corporate sponsors to stimulate interest in pre and post incentive travel or sales meetings; on-site promotions to develop a database of visitors to encourage repeat business; and a training programme for volunteers, who would provide service during the competition, for future events and for the tourism industry as a whole.
Dr. Neirotti, who is an authority on sports tourism, noted that the, “Cricket World Cup is a great opportunity but the region needs to be pro-active, otherwise the full potential of benefits will not be reaped. Aggressively working with the media and providing them feature stories, access to celebrities and unique local culture, can generate a high return on investment, likewise working with Cricket World Cup sponsors to integrate information about the Caribbean into their advertising produces tremendous results.””By the time the overs start, the opportunities to take maximum benefit of Cricket World Cup will be over for the tourism teams. Now is the time to take action,” she stated. President of Counterpart International, Lelei LeLaulu, suggested further that press trips should be organized for journalists from India, Pakistan, Africa, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, “where the sport of cricket thrives, and where people have a thirst for news of all kind from the region hosting the global tournament.”
Through this measure, Mr. LeLaulu pointed out, the region could get “triple hits” on sports, leisure, food and lifestyle pages, adding that, “these opportunities will not last for long”.
“Why aren’t countries inviting celebrities from the traditional cricket-playing nations to the Caribbean where they can be filmed enjoying the unparalleled offerings of the region?” LeLaulu asked, noting that these films “could be shown way after the Cricket World Cup has ended. And don’t forget, the main sport in the storied Silicon Valley – with its legions of Internet millionaires – is cricket.”