Dr Cliff Bertrand

Dr Cliff Bertrand

Commentary by Dr Cliff Bertrand

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell wants to promote Grenada as a training retreat for professional sporting clubs from North America and Europe during their winter months. The winter season in North America is usually in the months of December, January, and February to mid-March. Europe winter starts in October and lasts through to the beginning of March.

What’s the best time to travel to Grenada? Here are some facts:

  • The months of January, February and December have a nice average temperature.
  • On average, the temperatures are always high.
  •  A lot of rain (rainy season) falls in the months: January, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.
  • On average, the warmest month is July.
  • On average, the coolest month is January.
  • November is the wettest month.
  • March is the driest month.

Is the time ripe for Grenada to make this move?  The Sports Tourism idea is not foreign to the Caribbean sporting community: Jamaica, the Bahamas, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbados, St Kitts & Nevis, the Cayman Islands are all in the same game.

They have much to offer. The competition is visible. It is keen and fierce. What does Grenada have that the others do not have? What factors must be considered?  Get the fundamentals down and level the playing field.

The issue here is the emergence of sports tourism marketing in the Caribbean. The ultimate challenge is marketing sport and Grenada. This is about sports marketing, event management, access to facilities and equipment and government as an active agent and practical facilitator.

How can Grenada’s sport tourism be designed to meet the needs of major foreign sports organizations?  How will Grenada determine appropriate sponsors for an event? How will Grenada demonstrate the benefits of their sponsorship? Carole Beckford, publicist for the world’s fastest man, Usain bolt on June 7, 2012 in New York said:

“Tap into the lucrative niche of sports.” “Make better use of Caribbean locations to sell the region’s mystique, bold behavior and warm hospitality.”

“It’s not the Burger King and McDonald’s franchises that attract people to the Caribbean, rather the yam, bananas, dumplings and curried chicken,” she claimed.

Utilize Performance driven personalities to lure visitors to the region.

Utilize the culinary habits of the country to appeal to sports tourism travelers.

The Government should pursue its diplomatic connections to bring international star players and their respective entourages to train in a region brimming with sports stars.

Sports consultants, newspaper columnist and other forms of media outlets should make efforts to promote the national pride and interest.

Sports education training for citizens should be a priority for Caribbean sports tourism

The Development of sports education initiative program is a critical tool in the growth of sports tourism in any Country.

Grenada must develop a template for sports education in the curriculum for adoption in the schools of Grenada.

There must be Discussions on the importance of sports tourism in Grenada, the strengths and weaknesses of the sports tourism infrastructure in the Caribbean must be of concern.

There is a team of rivals, facilities, equipment, medical emergencies, and hospitality service, hotels, working with vendors, safety and emergency precautions, stadium seating design and controls, sponsors and suppliers’ agreements, risk management and insurance, taxes and customs and hospitality management.

While the Caribbean possesses viable resources for tourism, there is an abundance of natural virgin talent that needs a strong foundation in sport. However, the institutional arrangements and formulae for developing sports tourism are either lacking or weak.

There are research limitations. Writings and research have focused upon tourism as exporting canned products of the Caribbean. Nevertheless, there has been comparatively little attention directed towards the theoretical, policy and operational issues related to sports tourism.

The void in research creates a vacuum of intellectual support and guidance for tourism scholars and sport administrators.

The practical implications are that sport enthusiast and tertiary education administrators in Grenada should create a greater synergy between sport and tourism. Grenada should consult with family states in this venture with the team of rivals.

The Government tourism department, directorates of sport, and institutions of tertiary education should derive benefits from the development of the construct in sports education and training of personnel at all levels of institutions.

Sports teams using hotel services are cognizant about environmentally friendly practicing locations in Grenada. They will patronize the hotels that have hospitality centers, facilities and equipment adapting best practices in accommodation facilitation and not compromising on service quality.

Metropolitan teams would prefer to use lodgings that follow best practices in health, safety and recreation. These teams are not willing to pay extra for these services. Grenadian hotels would have to be highly competitive with regionals over similar facilitation. It would be to their detriment if they do not follow best practices of hospitality. The other islands present a viable challenge as an option.

Practical implications are that the Grenadian hotel industry would have to invest in environmentally friendly services and practices.

It is also essential that Government acknowledge the benefits of and institutionalize rewards, taxbenefits and exemptions, revised customs policy practices, updated technological implants and elimination/reduction of red tape.

The tourism industry in Grenada has a big responsibility of ensuring that business models adopted are sustainable in the long run. They have to accept and adopt the best attractive tourism practices as a preferred business model.

How does Kirani James figure in this Grenadian dream?  Usain Bolt is in the Jamaica reality!  The Bahamas, their 4x400m relay team!  USA has Derek Jeter (Baseball) and Lebron James (Basketball). These national heroes all inspire their nation.

Do the math!

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of GrenadaSports.

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