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“Work Together To Maximize Sports Tourism Benefits” - Minister McNeill

Release Date: 
Monday, June 29, 2015 - 09:15

Kingston, Jamaica: June 26, 2015: Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon.  Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has charged tourism and sports stakeholders to work together to maximize the potential of sports tourism and its benefits to Jamaica.  He stated that, “given the strength of Brand Jamaica and our prominence in sports there is no limit to the success we can achieve if we come together.”

Minister McNeill was addressing the stakeholders at a JAMAICA Sport workshop held yesterday (June 25) at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.  The workshop introduced two models for evaluating the economic impact of sports events, STEAM Jamaica and Media PRO.

“The value of sports tourism is said to be over US$600 billion internationally. Given Jamaica’s prominence in sport and the strength of our brand we have to ensure we can get a slice of this pie,” said Minister McNeill.

He pointed out that sports tourism affects the host country in two ways, the direct effect of attendance of competitors, spectators and other accompanying persons and the indirect effect that comes from marketing the destination. As an example of the power of sports as a marketing tool, Minister McNeill cited the successful Jamaica House concept, an initiative that leverages the global focus on the Jamaican track and field team at major sporting events to market Destination Jamaica.

To underscore his point, Minister McNeill noted that “prior to 2012, we had experienced four consecutive years of negative growth in visitor arrivals out of the UK. In 2012, we hosted Jamaica House at the London Olympics.  In 2013 we saw the positive impact in an increase in arrivals; in 2014 arrivals increased by 17.5% and since the start of 2015 we have had a 27% increase in arrivals out of the UK.” He emphasized that, while not the sole reason for increases out of this market, the concept played a significant role in boosting arrivals.

The Minister welcomed the introduction of Jamaica STEAM (Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model), which will project and measure the economic impact of both sports and entertainment, and Media PRO, which will measure the media value and reach of these events. “We want to ensure there is an empirical mechanism to ensure the sports events have maximum impact on tourism given our financial constraints,” said Minister McNeill.  He encouraged all sports organizations to embrace the use of these evaluation models to measure their events for various purposes including sponsorship.

The sport evaluation workshop was conducted by Anthony Fisher from the Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance and Derek Mager from Canada’s Data Jungle, who have a proven record in both fields.

JAMAICA Sport Chairman, Chris Dehring described the models as “tried, tested and true” and said that in a very competitive environment it is important to professionalize sports investment and properly assess how the money is being spent.

JAMAICA Sport is a multi-sectoral body established in 2014 to examine the commercial opportunities provided by sports tourism; leverage Brand Jamaica and sporting events held locally and internationally to ensure that Jamaica maximizes marketing and promotional opportunities while encouraging additional visitors to our shores.