St Vincent and the Grenadines can cash in on an opportunity to sell the country more than it has been done, maximizing the returns from sporting activities at the occasion of the annual celebrations of the country’s independence.
Gradually, that time of year is fast emerging as a thriving season for promotion of our sports tourism product.
A few weeks ago, there was glaring evidence that the country is sitting on the cusp of an economic take off, as more and more sporting extravaganzas are being added to the yearly exercise.
As such, it has been a given for many years, to have the motor cycle events, along with the motor cross.
Then, for the past years, we have seen with regularity, the hosting of neighbouring countries for engagements in the sport of Rugby.
Additionally, over the years, the International Masters T/20 cricket competition has become a staple event at independence.
And, this year we saw the initiation of an Invitational Masters Seven- A – Side Football Competition, albeit a private undertaking, staged on someone’s private property.
When lumped, St Vincent and the Grenadines was abuzz, between the 23rd of October to the 30th of October.
Yes, there was the competition, there were winners, but moreso, St Vincent and the Grenadines, during that period benefited economically.
Whilst the extent of the economic benefits accrued over the period of the independence celebrations may not have been captured with an exact quantum, it is certain that the sporting activities brought the country a much needed financial injection.
This, as most persons came from the neighbouring Caribbean countries, whilst there were some from North America, namely, the United States of America.
During their stay here, the visitors would have occupied the various hotels, apartments, guest houses, as well as patronize restaurants, souvenir shops, you name it, their spending would have had a trickle -down effect.
Such glaring happenings can only augur well for the economic well- being of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Hence, we can only build on the successes and potentialities of what took place just over three weeks ago.
Granted that we are now rebounding from the fallout from COVID-19 and last year’s eruptions of La Soufriere volcano, it was a good fillip to restart the invitation process to get persons in the mood for a week of sporting activities.
What then should be the next move? Already, all organisers of these events should be looking ahead to 2023.
The approach going forward for us has to be multi-sectoral, as when all is said and done, it is St Vincent and the Grenadines that is the beneficiary.
It was heartening to hear that the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority was onboard with the staging of the Cricket.
Indeed, this is the right way to go, as their expertise and stamp of approval are needed to properly market and package the event.
Hopefully, the same is forthcoming for all the other sporting happenings that take place around the Independence celebrations.
Adding some spunk and focus on sports during the latter part of October positions St Vincent and the Grenadines as a worthwhile destination at that time of year.
Hence, Independence can complete the four festivals during the calendar, adding to the already established Carnival, Easter and Christmas.
This column firmly believes that we are on to something good, as sports will provide that booster shot to our tourism product in October.
What then is needed is that political will to see the process to fruition, support from the key stakeholders and cooperation among those entities that have hatched the ideas to have the various sporting events at the period of independence celebrations.
Seemingly, that pregnant sporting niche has been found, the next move is to solidify, better and most importantly, optimize and maximize the many positive derivatives that can emerge.