The Full Story
The Ministry of Tourism will be looking to capitalise on Jamaica’s dominance in track and field at the just-concluded Tokyo Olympics to bring more visitors to the island.
“Our athletes have given us a major marketing platform where we are going to be bringing more heads to beds, more lookers into bookers and more feet to the streets of Jamaica,” Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, told JIS News.
He said that the country’s impressive performance at the games, where athletes amassed an impressive nine medals (four gold, one silver and four bronze), further highlights the huge potential of sports tourism as an important value-added product.
“Sports tourism will become a major part of the deliverables in tourism and an important medium by which we will continue to pursue and promote aggressively,” he noted.
Minister Bartlett said that even before the Tokyo Olympics, the Ministry has been pursuing several initiatives aimed at boosting the development of sports tourism in Jamaica.
He noted that the goal of the Vision 2030 Sector Strategy for Sports and Tourism is not just to promote Jamaica as a sports destination but to also maximise the role of sports as a source of wealth.
“This is not limited to the hosting of mega events but by having the resources to promote health and wellness, which has proven beneficial to many destinations,” he said.
As such, he said it is important that “we continue to upgrade and invest in facilities like we did with the Negril Mini-Stadium”.
“In fact, [the stadium] might well be the launching pad for our next great athlete. Through the provision of spaces provided by our upgraded facilities, we can create the stepping stones to success. This goes beyond the previously mentioned hosting of events but includes even the natural landscape of Jamaica,” he noted.
“Our hills and valleys have become known for walking and hiking, while absorbing the unique sounds and sights of the country. These factors can indeed be a catalyst for tourism development, particularly if appropriately leveraged,” he added.
The recently opened Negril Mini-Stadium was constructed at a cost of $83 million through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and with funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
Mr. Bartlett, in the meantime, expressed confidence that the tourism sector will recover stronger from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Our tourism sector will be stronger than ever before. Tourism, being a multifaceted sector, has the potential to enhance our well-being and improve our lives. Along with our team of skilled specialists, across our many public bodies, we are ready to return to, not only our pre-COVID-19 days but to an even more vigorous sector,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett lauded the service providers in the industry, noting that without them, “we would not have been able to see the level of success these past decades”.
“It is their innate and learned skills that have allowed us to have such a rich and diverse industry. Our plethora of offerings is enhanced through their contribution to a Jamaica we describe as the ‘heartbeat of the world’,” he added.