More can be done
In recent years, St Vincent and the Grenadines has been the venue for the hosting of several sporting tournaments.
It is no stroke of luck of anything gifted to us, but somehow, we seem to have become the go to country when a host is needed.
Among the major events hosted by St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2019, have been the inaugural OECS netball series, the West Indies Under-19 cricket tournament, the Windward Islands senior cricket competition, the senior men’s Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) tournament, as well as a gymnastics championships involving some clubs from around the region.
Too, there was the customary International Tennis Federation’s Under-18 tennis tournament, which has been a fixture on the national sporting calendar since 2007.
Then, just about two weeks ago, we had the usual influx of bikers, along with race cars from different parts of the Caribbean here for the independence weekend, where they were involved in the rallies and other events.
In addition, the St Lucia Rugby team was over to engage their Vincentian counterparts in an official 15s match.
Similarly, last week there was the independence masters cricket tournament, which this time around, attracted some ten teams from overseas.
The lot included six from Trinidad and Tobago, two from the USA, one from Canada and the other from neighbouring Carriacou.
And, this weekend, St Vincent and the Grenadines pays host to the OECS Swimming championships, in which many swimmers, coaches, parents and well wishers will be in for at least three days.
So we enjoy hosting the tournaments, the hotels, guest houses, apartments, taxis, tour operators, mini bus operators, restaurants, caterers, night clubs and other places of entertainment, all would have benefitted in some way by the patronage of the visitors.
The spin-offs were obviously welcomed additions to the national income, which in turn spurs, even if only in a small way, economic growth and development.
Therefore, it is good for us to be worthy hosts of these various sporting activities.
However, it is equally important for us to maximise the returns from them.
Yes, there are reports of raved reviews received from many of the sportsmen and women of the hospitality given to them by Vincentians while they were here.
Visibility, many feast on the cuisine offered, while others seek to sample the many dishes and of course, imbibe our local refreshments.
But what happens during the course of these sporting activities and are beneficial to St Vincent and the Grenadines, are in the main, spontaneous.
One gets the impression that our designated tourism officials are not taking notes of what St Vincent and the Grenadines has and the economic potential that awaits us.
Being served on a platter is a three course economic meal for us just to partake of and enjoy to the fullest.
The learned personnel have to begin to acknowledge that sports is a big revenue earner and that St Vincent and the Grenadines too, must make that conscious push to formalize sports tourism.
This is a growing economic sector, with many countries latching on to its benefits and sports continue to evolve as a financially sustainable venture.
Yes, we do host and are good at hosting, but that alone is insufficient.