Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett (right), greets Vice President of Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment/ Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament, Frank Cuervo (left), at the recent media launch of the event at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston. Looking on are Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (second right); and Executive Director of Jamaica Classic, Jacob Ridenhour.
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, says Jamaica is ready for investment in the development of sports infrastructure.
Bartlett said that such investment will enable the country to attract mega sports events and capitalise on that lucrative segment of the global tourism market.
The tourism minister was speaking at the media launch of the second staging of the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament held earlier this week at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
He noted that while the island has hosted several major sporting events “it is the building of infrastructure that will enable mega events to come to us. It is not going to take off until we have the infrastructure in place to facilitate these events”.
“In making that investment possible, it will enable us to market better and to be more precise in our marketing and never second-guess the integrity of the experience that we sell,” Bartlett said.
“These mega sporting events help to highlight the importance of our destination and to cause more people to want to experience that which we provide,” the minister noted.
He argued that with big-league sporting activities dominating the cultural experience worldwide, there is much to be gained from tapping into this market.
He said that the country’s reputation for outstanding sporting performance should be capitalised on as it is a significant attraction.
“Most of the people who come to Jamaica today recognise the sporting prowess of Jamaica, whether it is through Usain Bolt or the Reggae Boyz’s achievements,” he pointed out.
At the same time the minister welcomed the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic, which will be held from November 16 to 18 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James.
The basketball tournament will feature eight colleges from the United States of America. All games will be televised across the USA during prime time on CBS Sports as well as streamed on the Internet.
Participating institutions are Georgetown University, University of South Florida, Loyola Marymount University, Ohio University, Central Connecticut State University, Austin Peay State University, Campbell University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University.