The hottest show on the Island is taking place right now. The buzz has increased in volumes and majority of locals already are wearing some form of clothing that represents their zeal and support for the school of their choice. This is where the youths shine and outshine. The International scouts are on the soil, the stakes are high and only the best will be on display.
Many from the Diaspora have flown in to attend Boys and Girls Champs and it has steadily positioned itself to be one of the Rock’s most eagerly anticipated yearly events. Who will reign supreme????
‘Champs’ beef up business for local hoteliers
ARENA BENNETT Business reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, March 27, 2015
Boys’ 800-metre race at the National Stadium on Wednesday. (PHOTO: BRYAN CUMMINGS)
THE ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships have improved the business environment for a number of local hoteliers.
The five-day track meet, which is hailed as one of the greatest inter-secondary school track and field competitions worldwide, has garnered the attention of many locals along with international supporters.
“Many of the guests at this time are from overseas,” Christopher Jarrett, owner of Altamont Court Hotel and Kingston chairman for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), told the Jamaica Observer in an interview yesterday.
“We have a mix of old alumni who come back to Jamaica every year, particularly from the United States, to support the event,” he stated.
International trainers looking to recruit talent, in addition to students from the rural areas who are participating in the event, have also secured their space at Kingston-based hotels, according to Jarrett.
In 2011, a study conducted by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture noted that there has been insufficient attention given to the central role that sports play in the country’s economic development.
According to the ministry, research conducted in Jamaica in 2007 revealed that sports contributed to more than two per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and up to two per cent of jobs.
What’s more, the ministry revealed that sports is ranked among the highest in terms of payback to the country for every dollar of foreign exchange spent on capital investment, with the economy getting back $6.18 from core sport and $3.81 from horse racing and betting. Additionally, each dollar spent on occupational training of its employees yields $5.65.
“At this time every year it is a given, and the event has been growing exponentially almost. Every year we find that the rooms are being booked earlier, and you find that you are running closer to full at the beginning of the week rather than near the end,” Jarrett said.
“The JHTA came from a meeting not too long ago and the indication is that most of the hotels are running very high occupancy, if not fully booked,” he added.
Glen Bromfield, owner of the Medallion Hall Hotel, says his 23 rooms are fully booked with student athletes from the rural areas. He told the Caribbean Business Report that the hosting of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Championships have significantly improved the occupancy rate of the hotels over the years.
“Kingston hotels get most of their revenues from business conferences and not so much from overnighting guests like in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril,” he stated. “Only events like Champs or popular international events will attract such large crowds to our hotels.”
The Ministry of Tourism, through its agencies and other organisations, encourages and supports the development and promotion of sporting activities as a part of Jamiaca’s tourism attraction.
Policy developments in 2013 included the tabling of the National Sport Policy in Parliament, and the establishment of a Sport Tourism Committee to market the sport component of Brand Jamaica, thereby positioning sports and related activities as major economic components in the development of Jamaica.