There has been a strong and growing demand for services across economies for decades, but more and more reports from international agencies are pointing us towards a world service economy. Traditional services have grown exponentially; which has created an opportunity for new services boosting job creation and becoming a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings.
The tourism industry has a range of services available, from the basic bed and breakfast, all inclusive properties, and time share, to name a few; while the wedding services, events management are becoming increasingly popular.
The Caribbean has undergone some studies and what has been clear is there is a plethora of services available. The sport services are to be included as part of this package. This includes access to production, music, fashion, photography, film, writing, music, library studio services as part of an overall suite.
My Caribbean colleague, Peter Adrien, in his book on his book on Sport Tourism has posited that golf, water sports and cricket offer the greatest opportunities in the region.
Golf for example, as identified by a Sport Marketing Survey (2003) says there are 61.1 million golfers worldwide with 37.1 million in the USA; 13.6 million in Asia. Now when you look at the travel patterns of tourists from those regions it means the Caribbean can coordinate programmes to attract much more tourists from those regions. If the services are available to package the sport, destination and the support, then a product of sport and service is available.
There are some statistics we have that we can use to our benefit. Two of every five US adult tourist are sport travelers; most event travelers are spectators and tourists who travel for sporting events, will normally return for a leisure trip.
What then does the Caribbean need to do? Organise more golf tournaments. Integrate the sport and the entertainment elements and talk to major networks across the world to broadcast to a discerning audience. While Tiger Woods has been incredible for the golf world, there is now a need to find his successor and if we are able to have that discovery, facilitated in the Caribbean, what a wonderful opportunity that would be.
The region boasts some of the most fascinating golf courses this side of the world from Anguilla to St. Lucia. Jamaica and Barbados are suggested to have the best courses, so a partnership would also not be out of the question. In Jamaica Tryall and Half Moon are stand outs; while in Barbados, Sandy Lane and Royal Westmoreland are superior.
As part of the service offering, we look for practice facilities, clinics, professional training session, gym facilities and spa areas for relaxation. Housing developers are also in the mix to provide high-end and sophisticated homes for sale/long term leasing.
The Caribbean is destined for a place on the golf world map, and joint marketing may be the solution to get the world to come to the region for golf. We should plan a tri state championship, for example in Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua and invite Golf TV, ESPN and other networks across the globe to be a part. We could even be the place for the re-emergence of the Tiger. Fore!!!