Hugh Riley

West Indies Cricket Team Win Three Titles in World T20- Men’s, Women’s, & Under 19: What does this mean for Caribbean tourism?

West Indies' cricketers celebrate with the trophy after winning against Autralia during the final of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2016 cricket tournament at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India, Sunday, April 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Not a huge cricket fan? Doesn’t matter. As we continue to celebrate the West Indies dominance of World T20 cricket, (the short form of the international tournaments), there are several conclusions we can make from this historic event in relation to Caribbean tourism. Here are three of them:

  1. Global Exposure. With the tournament’s estimated reach of approximately 1.5 billion people, the world’s eyes were upon us. Now that we have claimed the spotlight, we must rise to the occasion. We must act now more than ever to develop and market ourselves as the best that we can be. Tourism marketing should not only be regarded as a tool for attracting more visitors to a region. Instead, tourism marketing is a mechanism to facilitate development objectives and to rationalize the provision of tourism in order to ensure that the strategic objectives of destinations are achieved. Every time we bring the world’s attention to our sporting prowess, whether via the Windies, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce or others, it is a chance for us to showcase the potential opportunities to funding agencies who want those large audiences and who understand the Caribbean’s development needs. Media savvy investors can be encouraged to follow the stars home, take a peek into their formative years, explore what made them successful and build them into role models for the future stars of the Caribbean.

2. Triggers a Sense of Pride. The success of the team triggers a sense of pride and joy in the hearts of Caribbean nationals and creates a unifying link that benefits the entire region. This sense of pride compels us to sustain and develop our resources. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that meets the needs of present tourists and host regions, while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future.” We have an opportunity to advance these resources to create a sustainable sports tourism niche. Sports tourism plays an important role in our region’s social, cultural, economic and infrastructural development as it fosters the capacity for entrepreneurial development, employment creation, youth empowerment and the earning of foreign revenue. We welcomed the news last week that Trinidad & Tobago plans to enrich a sustainable sports tourism niche. The Tobago International Cycling Classic is ranked as one of the world’s leading sporting events and has successfully strengthened Tobago and Trinidad’s Sport Tourism initiative due to global reputation and great potential as a foreign exchange earner. For more on this story, click here.

3.  Collaboration to Achieve Greater Success. The first overseas tour of the West Indies cricket team to Australia resulted in heavy losses. Over the years, Caribbean researchers have concluded that the desire for a team of Caribbean nationals of various races and ethnic backgrounds to impose their own unique style of play had a direct impact of the later success of the team. Players put their differences aside and channeled their energies on building a strong team that would become the dominant force in world cricket. While there are copious commonalities among countries of the Caribbean, there are unique characteristics in terms of history, ethnicity, language, culture, cuisine, topography, political and legal systems. Those attributes combine to create a formidable force which has worked to the tremendous benefit of the region’s tourism. Because a win for one can be a win for all, the entire Caribbean can be proud to bask in the success of any of its citizens and use each victory to focus the world’s attention on the whole region.

The key lesson here is that there is more that binds us than divides us; so every time we celebrate each other’s success we strengthen our regional bonds.Tourism research continues to indicate the propensity of consumers to gravitate toward strong brands with a variety of easily accessible experiences. Smart travellers will likely take full advantage of the multi-destination arrangements which  Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic have recently announced.  Click here to read more on this story.

Overseas travellers – and even those from within the Caribbean – are constantly fascinated by the uniqueness of each Caribbean country. Yet the combination of those assets, much like the success of the West Indies men’s, women’s and Under 19 cricket teams, can be a powerful win for the whole region. One sea, one voice, one Caribbean. #OneCaribbean #Champions