BTMI designates 2017 as ‘Year of Sports’
The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is ramping up its marketing of Barbados as a sports tourism destination.
This was revealed this week at a press conference at the BTMI offices.
BTMI CEO, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, said the Year of Sports initiative is a result of months of research including talks with industry partners about the feedback they receive directly from markets such as the UK, USA, Europe, Canada and Latin America and the Caribbean.
“What we’ve found was that Barbados has several sporting avenues that are not being exploited. They are established and they are already here. Visitors are already coming to participate in or follow sporting activities such as cricket, surfing, golf, just to name a few, but this is happening in little silos around the island. We realised rather quickly that it is important as the marketing arm to unify these sporting activities, neatly package them in a way that’s attractive to potential visitors and brand it – hence our Year of Sport.”
Griffith said the BTMI Year of Sports is an opportunity for Barbados to "take ownership of the already developed sports landscape” and build on the 6.7 per cent increase in visitor arrivals in 2016 and accompanying boost in visitor spend.
The established events will be supplemented by new events, such as the Barbados Surf Pro from April 11 - 16 at Drill Hall Beach. This inaugural surf event, which has been included by the World Surfing League as a part of its Qualifying Series, is expected to draw scores of top international surfers and media exposure to hundreds of thousands of surfing fans around the world.
Other additions to the sports calendar include the Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival and the OK Dinghy World Championship in May; the Waterman Festival and Barbados Beach Tennis Open in June; DiveFest Barbados in July; the Barbados Beach and Wellness Festival and the Barbados Cycling Festival in September; Dragon World Championship and Barbados Open Club Championship in October.
Griffith added, "We are very committed to the Year of Sports and we do expect this will form an integral part of our marketing strategy going forward. Sports tourism offers an opportunity for us to expand by utilising infrastructure that is already in placend we look forward to excellent results."