Cricket Carnival 2022 ‘tip of the iceberg’ of Guyana’s tourism potential

– Minister Ramson

The massive success recorded after Guyana hosted the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) semifinals and finals in an explosive cultural fest, is just a taste of all that Guyana has to offer as a tourism destination.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr, made the statement during an interview on the sidelines of a recent event.

This came just days after Hero CPL announced the major economic impact the first-ever Cricket Carnival, a brainchild of President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali had on Guyana; with the finals dubbed the league’s most successful one yet.

Cricket Carnival 2022 saw an influx of tourists in Guyana

The total economic impact for Guyana in 2022 was US$84,425,587, which represents a 186 per cent increase on the figure from the last time the country hosted Hero CPL matches in 2019.

Businesses across the country benefitted from the significant improvement in inbound tourism during September last year, as people travelled to be part of the ‘Biggest Party in Sport’.

The ripple economic benefits of the event’s success were not only limited to sponsors and facilitators, but a number of businesses, restaurants, and hotels.

The Cricket Carnival saw a unique burst of culture being put on display for local and international tourists

“It was our first time hosting CPL semi-finals and finals. And I think a lot was expected. There was a lot of responsibility, and a lot of pressure… There is a lot of background work that goes into that, and a lot of very late nights just to get everything in order. And that’s why it’s so important that people get to appreciate the kind of effort that we put towards seeing Guyana’s image really excel,” Minister Ramson explained.

He highlighted the amount of effort put into improving the field at the Guyana National Stadium among other facilities.

The Cricket Carnival saw a unique burst of culture being put on display for local and international tourists

The minister also noted that while hosting CPL finals has always been an aspiration for Guyana, it is not an easy task, as a lot of behind-the-scenes work is involved.

However, he joined Hero CPL in lauding President Ali for his visionary leadership, and his success in showcasing the enormous appetite that exists for an event like Cricket Carnival, that encapsulates days of festivities that persons are willing to travel to enjoy.

“We have a lot of built-in idiosyncrasies and successes here, from a social standpoint, that many countries have constant challenges with. Other than during the election period, we are probably the most united and hospitable people in the world, and there are many times when foreigners come, and they tell me this is the most hospitable environment, or the most hospitable country they have ever come to.

“But that’s just one thing. We also have a number of products—tourism products, that a lot of the world has only ever read about in magazines. We were able to double the number of persons who came to our country [in 2022], compared to our highest year. Now, we just need a portion of those to explore our ecotourism products,” Minister Ramson expressed.

He explained the trickle-down effect tourism has on the country—impacting not only large businesses, but taxi drivers, small-scale realtors, hair salons and vendors— noting that this was exactly what the government would like its citizens to benefit from.

The Cricket Carnival saw a unique burst of culture being put on display for local and international tourists

While he skillfully avoided giving any spoilers for the upcoming Cricket Carnival this year, he did note that it was going to be an equally—if not more—impressive experience for everyone involved.

“What I can tell people is, it’s going to be bigger than ever, it’s going to continue to grow and snowball—and I’d like to use Mashramani as an example. Despite the rain, we had people coming out in their tens of thousands, saying ‘we have a great product here, we are here to enjoy ourselves’, and that is what we want to offer to the world. A safe place for people to come and have a great time,” he said.

A statement issued by the CPL just over a week ago detailed that CPL’s direct spending during Cricket Carnival increased significantly, with one metric showing a total of 25,783 hotel rooms filled across the tournament.

This reflects a 236 per cent increase in the figure from 2019.

The total viewership for the 2022 Hero CPL also smashed all records as it increased to 721.8 million.

This is the third successive year that the tournament has generated a viewership figure of over half a billion.

“The reception for the Hero CPL in Guyana last year exceeded anything we have seen before, and we are hugely grateful for the vision of His Excellency Irfaan Ali, who masterminded the Cricket Carnival concept and showed how cricket can deliver significant economic value when planned alongside other entertainment initiatives. We are so grateful for the amazing support we continue to receive in Guyana and are thankful that we have been able to repay the country with these fantastic numbers. We can’t wait to make an even bigger impact in 2023,” Hero CPL Chief Executive Officer, Pete Russell, said.

Last March, at the official launch of the Hero CPL tournament, it was announced that Guyana will be hosting the league’s final games for three years.

This longstanding agreement creates the opportunity for the Cricket Carnival to continue making its much-welcomed appearance until 2024.