Carole Beckford launches sport tourism book
Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer
Tourists from all over the world come to the Caribbean islands for their beaches, sunshine, food, music, history, heritage, and flora and fauna, among other things. Some people feel that one important reason is missing from that list, and it is sports.
Among those people is Carole Beckford - educator, journalist, marketer, broadcaster, sports-management expert, former Usain Bolt publicist, and the current manager of marketing and communications for the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
The Caribbean, and Jamaica in particular, has the potential to evolve into a sport tourism destination, Beckford believes, and has published a book, Jamaica Is In - Sport and Tourism, which looks at how the Caribbean can maximise its potential as a sporting destination. The 99-page paperback, with a foreword by Michael Hall, was launched at JAMPRO Jamaica Trade and Investment Ltd on Thursday, December 29.
The affable Dahlia Harris was the compère for the evening. Other presenters were John Lynch, chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board; Dave Cameron, president of the WICB; David Edwards, assistant professor at Johnson and Wales University, North Miami campus; Attorney-at-law Milton Samuda; and Beckford herself, who explained how the idea for the book came about, among other things.
COMPILATION OF ARTICLES
It is a compilation of articles written over a seven-year period. "The articles chronicle Carole's journey on and off the field/track in her pursuit to demonstrate how sport, tourism, and sport tourism have evolved in developing countries like Jamaica," the notes on the back cover say, while among the author's notes, Beckford writes, "The articles speak to some of what I would consider important to sport and tourism in the Caribbean and should include the work of all the practitioners in the industry."
Much about the book and marketing the Caribbean as a sport tourism destination was said at the launch. Harris said the book "was likkle, but tallawah" and it gives an "interesting insight". She suggested that Jamaica could be a beach volleyball destination and that the country should lead the way in the training of other Caribbean athletes.
The latter suggestion was endorsed by Lynch, who said that the book is "an eye-opener". He also said that with Jamaica's 'tremendous history' in sports, it should reach out and take the sport tourism market.
And while Cameron wants more support for sports, especially in the training of athletes, and sees the need for the country to embrace what sports has done for it, Edwards and Samuda want sports in the Caribbean to be treated as a business.
Sport tourism, Edwards said, is not a new phenomenon: "We just need to look strategically at the next step. Sports must be seen as an entertainment product in a public-private sector partnership which bridges the gap between sports and entertainment," he stated.
In speaking with Hospitality Jamaica after the formalities about the objective of her self-published book, Beckford said: "I want them (readers) to be aware of what's happening, and what the prospects are for Jamaica, and, by extension, the Caribbean. But also that Jamaica is a step ahead in most aspects of certain things, and we ought to capitalise."