THE call for a sports tourism policy, a sports tourism unit and the need for improved networking and support between the varying sport disciplines and other stakeholders were a few of the chief talking points that came out of the Sports Tourism Seminar/Workshop that was held yesterday in the Savannah Suite of the Pegasus Hotel.
The seminar was organised by the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Business, in collaboration with the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the Guyana Tourism Authority, under the theme: “Improving Sports through Tourism; growing Tourism through Sports”.
The event’s feature address was delivered by former National Sports Council Chairman, and Sports Consultant, Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira;there were also remarks from Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, and Ministry of Education Technical Facilitator, Vincent Alexander.The event was chaired by Director of General Tourism, Donald Sinclair.
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During his address Alexander emphasised that there exists many challenges that will need to be addressed if Guyana is to come into its own as a sports tourism destination.
Do we have facilities that in fact can be provided for sports tourism that includes certain standards that can market the country? Do we have the kind of human resources that ensure that you can properly organise and manage those activities?” Alexander questioned, according to a GINA report.
Those in attendance at the workshop included several representatives from various sporting disciplines in Guyana as well as from the Department of Tourism, the Guyana Tourism Authority, the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, GO-Invest, the University of Guyana, the National Sports Commission, the Guyana Olympic Association, and members of the Media.
Globally, sports tourism is a billion dollar industry and stakeholders in Guyana is hoping to tap into this and build Guyana’s capacity in this area, particularly with more and more large scale sporting events coming to Guyana. The event comes just over one month before Guyana is set to host the South American Junior Championships.
The participants went through a number of sessions that focused on varying areas of sports tourism, while there was also an interactive group session when attendees got to do some theoretical analysis of their own.
Camille Boodhoo of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) did a presentation on ‘An Industry Perspective’, while GOA’s Tricia Fiedtkou covered ‘A Sports Perspective’ and Ronaldo Vieira from the Brazilian Embassy spoke of ‘The Brazil Experience’.
During the group workshop session,participants were gathered into five groups, and were assigned specified topics that they had to discussion among themselves and then later make a presentation on.
During the presentations and later discussions, many begged that the support to develop sports tourism does not go away and the seminar be reduced to nothing more than “just talks”.