Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, says the sports industry, if properly exploited can play a major role in moving Jamaica forward.
"In an economy facing challenges, the quest for growth, job creation and enhanced opportunities for our people, there is no question that sports present us with unique opportunities for economic spin-offs," she stated.
The Minister was speaking on October 10 at the launch of the 2012 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k event at the Altamont Court hotel in New Kingston.
She lamented that one of the sad realities of Jamaica's sporting supremacy is that, over the years, "we have not adequately tracked the impact of sports and sporting events on the socio-economic life of the nation".
"We might have been fortunate in having natural raw talent and for letting that talent be a way of exposing us abroad, but we have not tracked what the impact has been on our economic life and that is something that we are now interested in doing," she said.
She said the Government hopes to get full value for every single talent or event that comes out of the country "so that this can go to the economic bottom line of the nation."
Mrs. Neita-Headley noted that this is the motivation behind the recent establishment of the Sports Tourism Implementation Committee, which was formed to market Jamaica as a sports destination and to help increase benefits from achievements on the world stage.
The Minister commended the organisers of the Reggae Marathon, noting that the event has all the ingredients for sustainable sport development, which must increasingly become Jamaica's focus.
"You started something that everybody enjoys, but it is not just something that we enjoy now, it is something that is adding value to brand Jamaica,” Mrs. Neita Headley stated.