BARBADOS’ RELUCTANCE TO INTEGRATE sports into its film industry could be costing it valuable foreign exchange.
And Carole Beckford, president of the Business of Sport, Jamaica, strongly believes sportspersons such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Ryan Brathwaite have the ability to attract tourists to the island once they are properly marketed.
Speaking to WEEKEND SPORT in an interview, the former publicist for star sprinter Usain Bolt, insisted that the stories of our elite athletes needed to be told.
“First of all, we need to tell the Bajans their stories and do documentaries . . . get the information into schools, not necessarily about their personalities, but about their sport, because once you have people talking about it, the word will spread,” Beckford explained.
“The thing about the film industry is that it is interested in origins and history, and the tourists are also becoming a little more sophisticated now and they want to dig deeper into history,” she said.
“They aren’t just coming to the Caribbean for sun, sea and sand anymore. They are looking at things like history and heritage, so we have to be able to create those stories to attract people to come to the Caribbean.”
She noted that through the use of film and the media, tourists frequently visited Jamaica not only to see Bolt, but to also visit the home of his parents, see where he grew up, and also to eat some of the local foods which have been associated with Bolt’s rise to stardom.
“Sir Garry is one of the best cricketers the world has ever seen. Why is it that tourists aren’t flocking to Barbados to see where he lives, or to find out more about him?”
Beckford, who is also the CEO of Carole Beckford and Associates, a marketing, management and media planning company, insisted that Barbados should especially focus its efforts on Sir Garfield, who is widely regarded as the best cricketer of all time.
“Even with his golf tournament, he can attract superstars to come here,” the veteran journalist said.
“Once that happens, then you talk to the investment agencies and the export agencies to be able to attract investors . . . that’s the best way to do it.”