Sports Tourism has potential to become a major industry- but challenges must be overcome

GINA, GUYANA, Saturday, April 29, 2017

The introduction of sports tourism as a major industry in Guyana is an excellent idea, but there are a number of challenges which will need to be addressed if the concept is to be successful. This is the opinion of Technical Facilitator to the Minister of Education, Vincent Alexander.

The Education Ministry official made this statement during brief remarks at the inaugural workshop on Developing Sports Tourism under the theme, “Improving Sports through Tourism; growing Tourism through Sports”. The workshop was held at Pegasus Hotel, Kingston.

Technical Facilitator to the Minister of Education, Vincent Alexander

“Do we have facilities that in fact can be provided for sports tourism that includes certain standards that can market the country?…….Do we have the kind of human resources that ensure that you can properly organise, and manage those activities?” Alexander questioned. The industry will also be challenged, he added, by the capacity of sport organisations to become involved.

The Technical Facilitator explained that the areas highlighted, described as critical to the sports tourism industry, will need to be addressed immediately to move forward.

Alexander pointed out that there are other resources within the country which can attract tourism, apart from sport, and hopes that those resources will be highlighted for the betterment of the country.

Meanwhile, St. Lucian-based Sports Consultant Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira noted, during the courtesy call made to the Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin on Friday, that the sports tourism industry needs major private sector input with the support from sport associations and other stakeholders.

Although the Caribbean countries which are involved in the sports tourism industry have become successful, Perreira explained that it will take some time for Guyana to experience that success especially since there is much need for promotion via the media to help in the process of attracting persons to the country.

St. Lucian-based Sports Consultant Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira

The Sports Consultant expressed his gratitude for the co-operation given to him, but hopes that an internal sports tourism industry can also be realised.

Minister Gaskin said that he was happy to witness the collaboration between his Ministry and the various sports organisations. He had labelled sports tourism  a viable and sustainable component of Guyana’s overall tourism product, adding that it has a contribution to make towards the nation’s development.

“We understand that tourism has to be developed from the ground up, and those involved have to understand that they are participating in something that has an economic value, and has a contribution to make to our economy,” the Minister explained.

He further noted that sports should not only be seen as a competition, but has the potential to bring persons to Guyana.

This workshop was a collaborative effort among the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Business, National Sports Commission in the Department if Culture, Youth and Sport (NSC), and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA).

By: Neola Damon