Initiatives to Boost Development of Jamaica’s Sports Tourism Outlined

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has outlined initiatives that will be pursued to boost the development of sports tourism in Jamaica.

Speaking at a post Beijing Olympics Tourism briefing, held at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on September 9, the Minister said that, “sports tourism will become a major part of the deliverables in tourism and an important medium by which we are going to be bringing more heads to beds, more lookers into bookers and more feet to the streets of Jamaica.”

The Minister noted that the sector would start, initially, with four key sports – athletics, cricket, football, and golf.

He pointed out that plans are in high gear to host the world’s first-ever 100-metre beach sprint, to be held in 2009, to coincide with the first staging of the World Athletics Awards.

The initiative aims to highlight the welcoming spirit of Jamaica as a leading lifestyle travel destination, and a country of sporting excellence.

For this staging, the Minister informed that the sector has received several local and international offers for partnership. “We have also been able to associate ourselves with one of the greatest event planners in Europe, to come to Jamaica to work with us on the whole matter of events marketing and driving the critical business side of sports tourism,” the Minister revealed.

He noted that the sector’s presence at the recently held Beijing Olympic Games, allowed Brand Jamaica to be tremendously showcased and created synergies that would contribute to the country’s economic development.

Another initiative that was born out of the Beijing Games, is the launch of the world’s first Destination Loyalty Card, by the Jamaican tourism authority.

The ‘One Love’ membership card aims to bring tourists to Jamaica, providing them with a VIP service and giving them the ability to redeem points for hotels, attractions, ground transportation, and special events.

Mr. Bartlett said that the first ‘One Love’ commemorative card, featuring Beijing 2008 Olympic Champion, Usain Bolt, and the current Miss World, Zi Lin Zhang, was recently presented by Jamaica to Miss Zi Lin Zhang, who graciously accepted an invitation to visit Jamaica next year, for the inaugural staging of the world beach sprint.

Meanwhile, Olympian and world record holder, Usain Bolt, who was special guest at the briefing, was honoured and officially named Tourism Ambassador. In that capacity, Mr. Bolt will be utilized locally and internationally to positively promote Jamaica.

Tourism Ambassadors are selected by the Ministry, in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and comprise Jamaicans who have excelled in their respective fields, and who have the potential to articulate the positives, which Jamaica has to offer visitors to its shores.

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