As Guyana prepares to host its first round of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches, the level of excitement that is currently building is no surprise, as it has now become a norm that during this time, there is a renewed interest in the game from everyone here.
Now in its seventh year, CPL is truly established as one of the leading T20 leagues in the world and compares favourably with the likes of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In addition to the high level of entertainment provided for families, many stakeholders in the Caribbean; including Governments and private sector bodies, are well aware of the huge potential the tournament has in terms of its massive contribution to host countries’ economies and the region as a whole.
It is well known that Guyana’s economy has been on a downward spiral for some time now and businesses and individuals are feeling the squeeze. Businesses have been complaining of poor sales and the general consensus was that much more needs to be done to revive the economy and create opportunities for citizens.
We believe that the hosting of the CPL games here is the kind of intervention that will give a much-needed boost to the economy. Hotels in Georgetown, both large and small, will see increase in bookings. The fans of the various teams will descend in Guyana in large numbers to root for their teams. Not only would they attend the matches, but they would also use the opportunity to experience Guyana’s major tourist attractions. Hence, the benefits would have a trickle-down effect on other related sectors— such as transport and retail services, etc.
In essence, the CPL games here are a good example of the tremendous benefits that could be derived from a sporting event of such magnitude. Guyana, through the CPL, has benefited significantly from hosting the event, since the inception of the tournament. The games’ economic impact locally has been both direct and indirect.
According to CPL, assessment reports compiled showed that the economy gained over US$25 million last season. The net sum was calculated by looking at the influx of tourists to the country, hotel bookings, vending during the games, and the overall spending of persons during this period. In addition to that economic impact figure the Hero CPL created 468 jobs in Guyana.
Now that the CPL tournament has proven to have many trickle-down effects, the whole concept of sports tourism is beginning to gain popularity in the region. The introduction of sports tourism as a major industry here is an excellent idea and it would certainly be in the nation’s interest if the major players involved work seriously towards designing and implementing the necessary programmes and policies that would see Guyana taking advantage of the many opportunities available in the sector.
Analysts have pointed to the fact that sports tourism is a huge and growing industry with important economic implications for the sport, the event, and the impact of travel and tourism-related benefits on host destinations.
Additionally, each year, the National Stadium at Providence, which is the home ground of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, attracts sold-out crowds. However, with tournaments such as these, it is not only the sold-out stadiums that warrant the prestige, but it is a chance to showcase one’s country on the global market, since television viewership would usually span each continent.
CPL has indeed been a success story, not only as it relates to the development of cricket in Guyana and the region, but the potential for growth and the ability to create the kind of opportunities that would seek to improve the lives of citizens. Guyana must therefore capitalise on the economic successes of CPL and work towards further developing sports tourism in general.