A Word From The Expert: Peter Adrien
Peter Adrien, Author, Sport Tourism, 2008, Adriens, St Kitts, West Indies
Peter Adrien is a development economist, an educator, business developer, tourism expert and financial adviser. Peter has been a consultant to the Caribbean public and private sectors.
Do you think that sports tourism has a real potential for development in the Caribbean?
The Caribbean countries that would cash-in on the emerging entertainment and sport industry would need to showcase first-rate air and sea transport infrastructures, adequate hotel accommodation, a first-class telecommunications infrastructure, a trustworthy security system, a well trained human capital stock, and a friendly population who is versed in English, the language of international trade. With respect to the enabling infrastructure, the Caribbean countries enjoy a standard of living akin to many developed countries, and free access to education has meant a fairly functionally literate population in the language of international trade. Despite the narrowness of the market, telecommunication is liberalised and end-users are benefiting from a range of products and services at competitive prices. Modern air and sea ports connect the open economy to the rest of the world.
How do you see the future of sports tourism in the medium and long term?
“Sports tourism is the sleeping giant of the global travel and tourism industry.” (Tourism Insider, 9 May 2011). Today sport tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel and tourism industry with estimated value at US$600 billion in 2008, that is, about 10% of the international tourism market. There are an estimated 12 million sport-related trips a year. And sport-related travel is projected to grow by 6% despite the global economic slowdown because sport tourism, encompasses both fans travelling to watch sport and people pursuing their sport locally and internationally (Tourism Insider, 9 May 2011). The business of sports is propelled by enormous consumer demand because it is a major driver in our entertainment-driven culture. Sports business is the 14th largest industry sector in the United States, larger than the steel and railroad industries. In fact, globally, sports tourism has become a catalyst for the recovery of the tourism industry, an avenue for generating significant revenues, creating much-needed employment, generating urban infrastructure and developing/reviving communities and providing a reliable conduit for attracting foreign direct investment. The destinations that will benefit most from sport business and sport tourism in the medium to long term are those economies that offer more competitive services and have a more diversified tourist product such as Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Saint Lucia and The Bahamas. The Dominican Republic is known as a conveyor belt for the baseball franchisees in the US and, Jamaica is branded as a music and entertainment centre as well as an emerging global sport tourism destination.