By Avenash Ramzan
Under the theme ‘Growth Points in Sports Tourism: Challenges and Solutions’, the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Business on Thursday hosted the third Sports Tourism Forum at the Guyana Olympic Association headquarters at Liliendaal.
A panel of presenters, representing various sporting disciplines and the tourism establishment, explored growth points and discussed the challenges and solutions that impact the development of a sports tourism sector.
Garfield Wiltshire of the Guyana Olympic Association said the forum comes at an opportune time, as Guyana is currently hosting matches in the Women’s World T20, one of the major activities that foster sports tourism.
“Sports tourism, in the broad sense, is defined as any travelling that is done to participate in a sporting event, including just watching, as long as the sport is the primary reason for one’s travel. And aside from the obvious and vast benefits of travel, sports tourism is considered great for the economy of any country, for one simple reason: it generates economic impact through direct spending in the country.”
Wiltshire added that sports tourism is a rapidly growing niche in the tourism travel industry, and the benefits to Guyana’s economy cannot be understated.
“And with it’s remarkable growth, the World Tourism Organisation recognises that sports tourism is now an emerging market, and indeed over the past 20 years, the interest in sports, especially elite sports events, has grown at a phenomenal rate,” Wiltshire explained.
Director General of Tourism, Donald Sinclair, implored on the participants the need for proper and timely planning to maximise the benefits of sports tourism.
He urged the local sport associations to always plan ahead, as that would give them ample time to do extensive marketing, a key element in tourism.
The event formed part of Tourism Awareness Month activities countrywide.
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