Sport and tourism need a marriage
… says ‘Reds’ Perreira By Leeron Brumell
Guyana Chronicle
November 27, 2003

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MARRIAGE became the keyword for the Culture, Sports and Tourism conference at the Ocean View Poolside.

Delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony Tuesday evening at the Tower Hotel, Sports Development Consultant to the St Lucia Tourism Authority, Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira, said that strong links are needed between sport and tourism if an economy was to flourish.

He gave a number of ideas to the sporting bodies to develop both their sport and the economy, saying that in one year of good preparation, Guyana can attract countries from around the world in any sporting arena.

“Sports/tourism is nothing new in the Caribbean; it’s well established in Barbados, Grenada and Jamaica. St Lucia has joined the queue and there is nothing wrong with Guyana joining. What I’m saying is that these ideas are not high in the sky, they can become a reality and there are a number of possibilities for stakeholders in Guyana.” Perreira said that there was no reason why the ideas cannot be accomplished, providing there was the will and passion to do it.

“It’s going to take one year to get your name in the field of competition,” he said.

He commended the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC) for its role in promoting sports tourism with the staging of international meets.

“You are really the people to drive sports tourism,” Perreira said

Perreira also threw out feasible ideas to the business, cultural and sporting bodies.

The cricket enthusiast said that sports such as hockey, cricket, bodybuilding, athletics, table tennis, football, rugby and cycling, among others, should be the leading disciplines in this drive.

He said that the Guyana Hockey Board of Control (GHBC) could stage an indoor tournament -- at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall -- that has the potential to attract overseas teams from as far as the United States and the United Kingdom.

Table tennis can hold a Top 32 tournament of the best in the region, rugby can stage an international sevens tournament and while staying local, the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) can hold a ‘Diamond Gloves Tournament’ in which teams from the Caribbean can participate.

All these and more he said could be a part of the local calendar as a starting point to development.

“If these organisations can do this, I can guarantee that you (Guyana) will have benefits in the future,” Perreira said.

Perreira also said infrastructure was an important factor for it ‘drives’ sport tourism, saying: “As infrastructure grows, so too will development. You can expand sports/tourism because, I want to see Guyana having an 18-hole golf course, I want to see a 25- or 50-metre swimming pool and a rubberised track. The time is right for this development.”

‘Reds’ also suggested that a building be established in one of the regions, which reflects Guyana’s sporting history.

“It should be two or three storeys high with each national association putting together its history” he said, referring Dr. Phil Edwards, the De Abreu sisters and motor racing, which he called the pioneering sport.

He also wants to see ‘messages’ that inculcate sports such as renaming Crown Street, Queenstown, to the Lance Gibbs Street since world class bowler grew up there.

Perreira said that they could also refurbish old homes of sporting greats and also develop the Blairmont Community Centre Ground among others.

The keynote address was delivered by Karen-Ford Warner, Deputy Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation. She focused on the tourism aspect and the path that Guyana needs to take.

Observations were made by Brian James; chairman of the Guyana Tourism Authority and Captain Gerry Gouveia, president of the Tourism and Hospitality Association.

Gouveia said that the PPP was crucial to the development of sport/tourism since they needed to promote the positive side of Guyana.