The Brian Lara Cricket Academy can be developed as the cornerstone of a strong and vibrant Trinidad and Tobago sports industry.
The Academy, which carries the name of the Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies cricket legend, provides a high-profile platform for the marketing of products and services related to the sports event tourism market.
Further, the presence of world-class facilities in South and Central Trinidad, including the Cycling Velodrome and the National Aquatic Centre, signal a necessary shift from Port of Spain and North Trinidad as the be-all and end-all of Trinidad and Tobago sports.
The official opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Friday points the way to the dawn of a new era for sports in Trinidad and Tobago. That said, it will be equally important that we learn from lessons of the past and ensure that well-thought-out maintenance and utilization plans and strategies are put in place for this brand-new facility.
There is a significant opportunity now for Trinidad and Tobago to go after the hosting of international and regional sports events that can be a major contributor to the economy. This will require not only the identification of opportunities to host sports events, but also the development of skills required for bidding and hosting international sports events.
Simultaneously, we must also build and develop crucial relationships with international, continental and regional sports federations.
Any sport tourism strategy must align to the broader national priorities for economic diversification and sport and recreation. Critical success factors will include clarity as to who should be driving the process, who should be funding it and clear benchmarks for success.