As a practicing Sports Consultant, I feel it’s time that the Guyana Tourism officials implement a sports tourism programme that will allow Guyana to join the Caribbean nations and the rest of the world in benefitting from this expanding niche market.
For such an event to be successful, it may be necessary to form a sports tourism unit within the Ministry of Tourism working in close collaboration with the national sports associations with important support from TAG, travel companies in Guyana, the various Embassies and High Commissions, whose role is vital in promoting Guyana as a sports tourism destination, and the National Press.
To commence a sports tourism programme successfully in Guyana is not by any means reinventing the wheel as this has been done by many Caribbean nations, both small and large, but must have the full support and commitment from the national associations, the individuals the events might be named after, the Guyana private sector and the Chamber of Commerce.
The following events with the right promotion could be staged as early as 2019 if attention to this niche market is a priority.
1) The Clive Lloyd Club 2020 – Target areas: the Caribbean, UK, USA and Canada.
Guyanese born, West Indian Captain should attract clubs from all over the world.
2) Rugby International Magnificent Clubs Sevens -Target areas: the Caribbean, Central & South America, UK, USA and Canada. The GRFU through their national teams have built a strong reputation in the world of rugby that should attract a number of international clubs to Guyana.
3) Caribbean Club Basketball Festival – Target areas: the Caribbean, USA, Canada, Central & South America. It is important that we take advantage at this time when Guyana are the Caribbean basketball champions and I feel confident that the national body will take the challenge.
4) Blairmont to Georgetown, 69 mile Cycling Endurance to honour cycling greats: George Cumberbatch and Boogie Defreitas. Target areas: the Caribbean, Central & South America, USA, Canada, and UK. This was a major grueling 69 mile race in the 50s when Cumberbatch and Defreitas did outstandingly well against UK competitors and this should attract cyclist from the region and Central and South America.
5) Athletics and Cycling on the Avenue (Main Street). Target area: The Caribbean.
This event is to be seen as an innovative use of the city that will attract thousands of Guyanese, once proper crowd control is in place, and will include the involvement of the private sector operating in that area.
6) Caribbean Squash Singles Festival – Target area: the Caribbean, USA, Canada and UK.
The Caribbean Squash Championships will only come to Guyana after it is held in other Caribbean countries by establishing a singles and doubles event it creates an opportunity for the national body to come up with a new championship.
The following events should also be included and have been established without an official sports tourism programme.
7) School Boy Boxing and Youth Tournament – Target area: the Caribbean, USA, Canada, UK and Europe.
8) South American 10k – which, at present, only is represented by official teams from South America, but should be thrown open to individual club runners from South America and the Caribbean.
9) The Hockey Club Festival has been a tremendous success, but with the right support can attract hockey playing universities from the USA, UK and Canada.
10) Guyana’s November Motor Racing Meet has grown immensely over the years with a tremendous local audience, but has not been attracting larger numbers from the Caribbean to visit Guyana in the week of the event where they may visit the many indigenous tourist areas culminating with the race meet to end their week-long stay in Guyana. The tour operators in Guyana need to promote and market a total package to the region with a special focus on Suriname, Barbados and Trinidad.
11) Ride Guyana Experience – from Corriverton to Parika, a cycling experience crossing three rivers that ends on the might Essequibo. Target areas: UK, Europe and North America.
I will be interested in making my services available so that the relevant stakeholders can be brought together to ascertain their interest in order for a sports tourism programme to be put together.
I am confident that this programme could be finalised and can be promoted at the World Travel Market in November where Guyana will normally have a pavilion to show to the hundreds of visiting UK press.
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