Let us start thinking big
On Target
April 26, 2024

Let us start thinking big

St Vincent and the Grenadines has to begin to think big as it relates to the country’s capacity to host fairly large sporting events.

This need for a change in the mindset coincides with the growth in some sporting infrastructure, coupled with other forms of enhancement to tourism.

Whilst we are yet to obtain a world class sporting facility, we can pitch our attention to the regional level, and work assiduously towards that end.

Imminently, by the end of June, as a product of this country’s hosting of matches in the ICC T/20 Men’s World Cup, the Arnos Vale Playing Field will be much improved.

Surely, the refurbishment will enhance the aesthetics and appeal of the country’s show piece sporting venue.

Significantly, that facility will have the luxury of lights being installed, a welcome appendage to the already picturesque setting.

It is no gainsaying that there would be accrued spinoffs from the development of the infrastructure at the Arnos Vale venue.

This is only one aspect, but there is a steady increase in hotel rooms and air lift to St Vincent and the Grenadines; hence, it is becoming easier as more airlines are making here, a port of call.

What then is needed is for a strategic approach to have more sporting facilities developed or erected.

With the add-ons and other supplementary actions taking root, it is high time that we embark on that mission to have St Vincent and the Grenadines become a “ go to “ destination, as we endeavour to woo more and more people here, primarily for sporting experiences.

This can be an overall start for a truly Sports Tourism project that St Vincent and the Grenadines ought to definitely pursue.

Thus, any well thought out Sports Tourism undertaking, undoubtedly, will complement the sea water, sand, flora and fauna, that have been the main selling point for the country.

Most Caribbean destinations are basically similar in nature, so, having that cutting edge, is the separation factor.

One just has to look outside and next door, and the picture is before our eyes and the revenue that sporting activities can generate.

One such example is the economic activities that occur during the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier

League CPL, in 2023.

The statistics for last year’s CPL in Saint Lucia showed that the economic impact when that country hosted six matches between August 16, and 20, amounted to US$39,470, 999.

Also, the data showed that 12,818 hotel rooms were booked for the period.

Likewise, when the Massy Women’s Caribbean Premier League touched down in Barbados, there was a total economic impact that valued US$40, 446, 754.

Whilst St Vincent and the Grenadines does not have a CPL franchise based here, the figures are encouraging for our decision makers to find ways and means to attract visitors, with sports being the main pull factor.

As such, courting English Counties especially who venture out to tropical countries to have their pre-season training should be high on the agenda for the powers that be, who are charged with making St Vincent and the Grenadines’ gross domestic product(GDP) constantly increasing.

With a dint of hard work, getting the right contacts, and willingness to invest in some advertising campaigns, we can indeed be the beneficiaries.

Teams the world over are looking for places to take their players in the off season, providing them with rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

St Vincent and the Grenadines can surely get a look in, once the policies are put in motion.

However, whilst this column may expound that positivity and point to the trajectory in the other  subsidiaries of development, critical to the rosy picture, is that will by the political directorate.

Those concerned can stay on the sidelines, point them to the right direction and the pathways and

byways, unless those who hold the purse strings and are cognizant of the many -sided benefits of sports, then emptiness and sheer babbling pervade.

The proof is there as our immediate neighbours Saint Lucia, is building a top- class swimming complex, capable of hosting the Carifta Aquatic Championships, to go along with their Cricket, Tennis, Football, multiplex indoor facilities, among others.

Fortunately, their policy makers there understand the power of sports, but we on this side seemingly do not, or simply cannot be bothered.

We cannot remain looking and admiring others whilst lag behind and only depend on the crumbs that fall intermittently.

Again, we had better begun to think big, or remain lost in the economic rubble.