We have utilised this medium to draw attention to the experiences of Barbados, one of the finest examples of sports tourism, as well as the Bahamas and Jamaica. What these countries have done is to recognise the value of sports tourism to the national economy. They have established strong departments whose focus of attention is the encouragement of institutions to seek out the potential of this particular sector.
Bermuda is a country where there are major celebrity gold tournaments done in tandem with the hotel sector. There is also an annual invitational marathon.
Barbados has a regular horseracing programme but during the course of the year there are times when feature races are deliberately organised to attract sports tourists. There is the Annual Cockspur Gold Cup which features horses from around the Caribbean but which also attracts international jockeys and connoisseurs of the sport.
Barbados’ British legacy has allowed the very expensive sport of polo to persist and to develop into a major pillar of its sports tourism thrust. The country has played host to international competitions in addition to the regular clashes with British clubs. The country has also hosted international mistral competitions and its car racing circuit is one of the most vibrant in the Caribbean.
Sports tourism is so very strong in Barbados that the authorities at tourism has an experienced staffing place whose mandate is to meet with sporting organisations and hoteliers as well as sport entrepreneurs to encourage accessing sporting activities that the country can host. These activities are not limited to competitions but include the hosting of executive meetings of regional and international sporting organisations, conferences, seminars and general assemblies.
The hosting of these sporting activities allows the eyes of the world to be focused on the host country since in many cases the organisations attract their respective media adherents. This focus on the host country means that many viewers and followers of the particular sporting activity may get a taste of the country enough for them to want to visit or re-visit it as a regular visitor in the future. They may also advise their friends to seek out the particular country as a vacation destination.