Over the six years of its existence, the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has done well for various sectors in Guyana and across the Caribbean.
One such sector has been tourism and hospitality. The Hero CPL and Sport Tourism in Guyana can go hand-in-hand. This belief was stressed across the board on Tuesday as the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana hosted the CPL sponsor, Hero MotoCorp, and representatives from CPL.
Speaking at the event, Commercial Organiser of CPL, James Stewart, expressed his pleasure with the strides CPL has made to showcase Guyana.
“In that respect, I think the way that CPL has been able to showcase Guyana –because it is a stunningly beautiful country you have here, and it deserves to be showcased to the world (because it has) some of the most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes on the planet — CPL has been a powerful platform to project Guyana to the world,” Stewart proudly declared.
Detailing some of the statistics based on the 2017 season, Stewart posited that total revenue coming into the Caribbean from that CPL season was US$95 million, of which Guyana received US$40 million.
In addition, there were more than 190 million viewers worldwide witnessing the biggest party in sport; and that number continues to grow, Stewart revealed.
For Hero representative Joshua Ramdehol, the CPL is more than just a sponsorship opportunity; it is also an occasion to see social cohesion played out before our very eyes.
“I would like to touch a bit on the way sports tourism can help to achieve social cohesion. Cricket is the beloved sport of our nation. Even if there’s street cricket going on, you can see an audience watching on. I’m elated to see, at the games in Guyana, sold-out crowds of 15,000 in attendance from all social classes, races and diversity, jumping and celebrating together,” Ramdehol said.
Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, urged that the hospitality sector do more than just accommodate tourists. He urged that a lasting impression be left with the tourists.
“Essentially, we want to see our hotel owners and persons that provide tours not only see an opportunity to fill the hotel rooms, but we want persons from the outside world to explore Guyana. When Guyana boasts about having the largest single-drop waterfall, we want people to not only hear about Kaieteur, but go and visit,” he said.
Giving reasons for his statement, Jones noted that this will pave the way for tourists to return, even when large sporting events are not happening.
“Because, after the sporting events are done, we want those persons to return to Guyana on their own, invite persons, and of course promote Guyana through those mediums”, he reasoned.
Captain of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, Chris Green, also made an appearance at the event, detailing his time spent in Guyana. He noted that between the hectic team schedules, the little he has been able to see has been an amazing experience.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Guyana. I guess it’s very relevant for me to talk, coming here as a tourist myself. I think the work being done by the Tourism Board, the CPL and Hero together to promote not only cricket in Guyana, but Guyana itself, has been really commendable”, Green opined.
The Caribbean Premier League has amassed some 95 million viewers all across the world, which does well for the promotion of Guyana as a tourist destination.
President of the Tourism Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Mitra Ramkumar, said over the years sporting events have had massive economic impacts on the local tourism industry. He noted in 2017 the Hero CPL created some 492 jobs locally.
Ramkumar further highlighted that in 2017, over 4000 hotel rooms were occupied as a result of the influx of visitors. He added that the matches broadcast attracted at least of 19.1 million views.
This type of medium the THAG president noted is an exclusive way to market Guyana to the world, “I want to congratulate Hero CPL for highlighting aspects of our country during the games. This is all a part of sports tourism and these are the things that actually bring people together.”
The THAG president is positive that the numbers for job creation and economic gains will increase tremendously this year, with Guyana hosting seven games.