Many adventure seekers often opt for the Caribbean for the warmth of the sun, sea, sand and people. However, there are a growing number of interested parties who keenly eye the Caribbean for more adventurous pursuits. Avid sailors, racers, bikers, hikers, cricketers, footballers and runners are drawn to the plethora of events that the islands have to offer.
Sport tourism, though burgeoning, is among one of the niches that Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is seeking to explore for diversifying the tourism product and to encourage development in the region. In the past few years, several major sporting events have drawn more and more international visitors, media and sponsors to T&T allowing the destination and the local sporting talent to be showcased on an international stage.
With a history of excellence in sports with some of the biggest names in sport coming from this region and from the destination, the potential for Sport Tourism in Trinidad and Tobago is enormous
Here’s a break-down of the possibilities:
Cricket: This is a no-brainer since international cricket draws millions of viewers worldwide. T&T’s Red Force and by extension, West Indies Cricket team, have been impressing fans with their commitment to the game. Not only have the matches become more exciting, they’ve become more in-demand due to the high level of energy brought on by the teams and their supporters. CPL 20/20, International Premier League (IPL) and the international matches are all fantastic ways of enticing visitors to the region. Throw in the party atmosphere at the Queen’s Park Oval and what more could you want?!
Golf: Though not as popular, golf does have the potential to draw massive crowds, especially considering that T&T does have some of the best, if not the best, golfing greens in the Caribbean. This fact creates a unique spin for the islands, which would otherwise be un-thought of as a golfing destination, and will draw the attention of international media to any golfing tournament being hosted in the country.
Football: We’re talking billions here. World Cup anything usually does the trick, but when it comes to ‘footie’, this is hands down the most fervently watched sport. Considering T&T’s ties to the football world and stellar players of late, the chance to host any kind of international football event would prove greatly beneficial to T&T. Not only would local players have the chance to be vetted or seen, the eyes drawn to the country would also encourage further investment.
Track and Field: T&T has produced some of the top names in the athletics world in the past. However, with the gold medal earned in the javelin throw by Keshorn Walcott at the 2012 London Olympic games the country was once again thrust in the limelight among the global community. to Athletics continues to be one of the most anticipated sporting genres worldwide and the existing infrastructure in T&T’s sporting facilities positions the destination to be able host some of the major track and field competitions at an international standard.
The development of new, state of the art sporting facilities such as the Cycling Velodrome, and the Aquatic Centre, both located in Couva and the Tennis Centre in Tacarigua, also adds value to our sport tourism product offerings with the potential to attract world class athletes in the international marketplace for training camps, exhibitions and tournaments.
With the aim of developing its local tourism sector Trinidad and Tobago is getting involved in the business of Sport Tourism and partnering with national sporting bodies and other stakeholders to capitalise on the important role that sport plays as a magnet for increasing visitor arrivals.
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