Sports Tourism - Blazing a Trail will be the theme of a panel discussion at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Marketing Conference, organized as part of Caribbean Week New York.

The discussion will be moderated by Tony Harris, the prime time news anchor at Al Jazeera America and the former host of CNN Newsroom with Tony Harris.  The panel will comprise experts from various areas of sports, including a sports marketer and a sports tourism administrator.

According to Harris, “When a destination can successfully parlay all of its assets and unique selling points to offer more than a sporting activity or event, by evoking a sense of nostalgia, community or connection among sports enthusiasts, it optimizes the depth and quality of the visitor experience, and keeps them coming back.”

The session will bring together industry experts and decision-makers representing CTO member countries, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, travel agents, allied members and the media.  It will provide delegates with a fresh perspective on key opportunities to market sports tourism in the Caribbean.

Sports tourism refers to international trips planned around a sporting event or activity. It is one of the fastest developing areas of the US$5.2 trillion global travel and tourism industry. The main topics of the discussion will address the following business decisions:

•           Assessing the industry size and market potential for sports tourism in the Caribbean;

•           Understanding the target market for sports tourism and the various visitor profiles;

•           Exploring current trends in sports tourism marketing and strategies that destinations have employed successfully to appeal to sports enthusiasts;

•           How host countries of international tournaments like the FIFA World Cup and Olympics have leveraged these events as part of an overall long-term destination development strategy;

•           Critical success factors required to successfully promote sports tourism as part of the overall destination marketing strategy.

Harris, an Emmy Award winning journalist, is also President and CEO of Merge Media, a marketing and public relations boutique agency that focuses on travel, lifestyle and entertainment. He has established solid networks in sports marketing, talent partnerships and event properties and along with his team, has created destination marketing solutions that maximize synergies between sports and tourism.

The Caribbean Marketing Conference, organized by the CTO allied members, takes place on  Friday 5 June at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel. It includes a networking session and will be followed by the Allied Awards Luncheon.