Sports tourism has been identified by both the current and previous governments as a potentially lucrative niche market in which Trinidad & Tobago has a distinct competitive advantage. In addition to already regularly hosting an array of athletic activities, including golf, yachting, boating, cricket, horse racing, powerboat racing, tennis, cycling and football, T&T, especially Trinidad, features a robust network of sports infrastructure with significant capacity. The segment’s contribution to overall economic development not only hinges upon the number, quality and duration of sporting events hosted, but also the country’s ability to attract non-competitive events such as conferences, meetings and training programmes. The potential economic benefits are significant and include revenues generated not only from events, but from the increased demand for hotel accommodation, transportation services, food and beverages, entertainment, television and media coverage, advertising, and health and medical services. Therefore, it is essential that all components of the sports tourism value chain work effectively for T&T to benefit from the potential advantages.

Growing Potential
On a global level, tourism receipts grew by 5% in 2017 to reach $1.3trn, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation, with sports tourism one of the fastest growing segments in the industry, forecast to grow by 41.5% between 2017 and 2021. The segment in T&T has mirrored global trends, with the number of sports tourists nearly tripling from about 1600 visitors in 2010 to Sports tourism’s contribution to broader economic development will depend on T&T’s ability to attract non-competitive events such as conferences, meetings and training programmes 6315 in 2015, according to the Immigration Division of T&T. Meanwhile, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs (MSYA) figures show that if sports tourists continue to rise by 4500 every five years, T&T can expect over 10,500 sports tourism arrivals by 2020.

In total, the country is home to five multipurpose stadiums, including the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago; eight indoor sporting arenas; five 25-metre community swimming pools; one national ice hockey facility; and three major golf courses.

Also included in the country’s sports stock are the recently expanded 250-metre National Cycling Velodrome in Balmain, with capacity for 2500 people; the National Aquatic Centre in Couva, which holds two 50-metre event pools, a 25-metre diving pool and capacity for 700 people; and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, which hosted the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 (CPLT20) cricket championship tournament in both 2017 and 2018.

Hosting Events
T&T is no stranger to hosting major athletic events. As far back as 2001, the country was the destination of the FIFA Under-17 World Championship, for which it constructed four FIFA-standard stadiums — three in Trinidad and one in Tobago — with a total seating capacity of 37,500. Additionally, several smaller grounds were upgraded for use as practice pitches, and the already existing Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain had new seating and a flood-proof playing field installed.

As part of a more recent push to showcase the country’s events potential, in January 2018 T&T hosted the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Women’s Under-20 Championship, the Pan American Badminton Male and Female Team Continental Championships the following month, as well as the Caribbean International Invitational Open Combat Sports Championship in April. Darryl Smith, the minister of sport and youth affairs, told local press in February 2018 that hosting regional competitions would help continue the country’s sports tourism drive. “One of the main objectives of the MSYA – and we have been doing a pretty good job at it – was to push sports tourism. We hosted the highest number of international events in our history [in 2017].”

Although the segment is still in its early stages, signs are pointing to significant increases in activity over the coming years. In anticipation of this, in October 2016 the T&T Hospitality and Tourism Institute launched the first sports tourism master’s programme in the country, and is expected to significantly increase skills training in the segment.

Global Appeal
The destination has the temperate climate and structural capacity to facilitate a wide range of professional and amateur sport events. Currently, there is rising interest in cricket and soccer, but already existing fields could be used for various sports in the off-season. Specifically, there is large untapped potential with US universities. T&T could offer training facilities to baseball, lacrosse and other field sports teams during the winter, as the weather is relatively mild during the winter months, averaging 27°C year-round. While Puerto Rico has historically served as the main practice destination for US university sports teams, the damage caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, which struck in September 2017 affected many of the facilities. Being outside of the hurricane belt, T&T’s sports facilities are intact. “Trinidad has the same temperature throughout the year,” Charles Carvalho, CEO of local tourism operator Carvalho Agencies, told OBG. “In winter, when athletes in cold countries need to practise, they could come to T&T since we already have the infrastructure in place. Over the last few years, the government has built several professional sporting facilities throughout Trinidad.”

State Policy
The country had been without an official tourism policy for almost six years as the most recent guidelines expired in 2012. In January 2018, however, the Ministry of Tourism released a draft of the Sport Tourism Policy of T&T (STPTT), which highlights the broader advantages of developing the segment. On an economic level, hosting events can help reduce poverty in communities through the development of small business and the upskilling of community members needed to welcome, host and serve the influx of visitors.

It is also expected that boosting sports tourism numbers will contribute to other segments, such as ecotourism and cultural travel, as visitors already in the country may seek to spend their free time on activities beyond sporting events. Local infrastructure upgrades will also lead to new roads and transport networks as well as the expansion of telecoms networks, benefitting the country as a whole.

The policy has received broader administrative support, with Colm Imbert, the minister of finance, pledging the government’s commitment to boosting the segment as part of the nation’s economic diversification strategy. Key to the STPTT will be securing the economic sustainability of sports tourism by attracting and hosting a continuous stream of international and regional sporting events, championships, tournaments, competitions and training camps. However, hosting successful events hinges on the availability and accessibility of adequate, well-maintained infrastructure beyond sporting facilities, including accommodation, air and road transportation networks and other ancillary services, such as food and beverage, entertainment and public safety. Therefore, investments are necessary beyond athletic infrastructure to create an ecosystem conducive for the growth of sports tourism.

Direct Investment
On top of this, the government has pledged to invest directly in a number of tournaments. An economic impact assessment conducted by the organisers of the CPLT20 reported that the 2016 championship tournament generated $20.4m in visitor expenditure, up 31% from the previous year. Additionally, the tourism boards of Barbados, St Lucia and Guyana each negotiated shirt sponsorship deals with their respective premier league franchises, resulting in significant revenue generation and gains in media value. In the 2017 the CPLT20 cricket championship final attracted 37.6m viewers worldwide and generated TT$23m ($3.4m) in revenues for the country. More recently, the government provided TT$20m ($3m) to host three finals of the CPLT20 championship games, which took place in August and September 2018.

With the recently constructed National Cycling Velodrome and National Aquatic Centre, as well as other sports facilities throughout the country, T&T is set to increase the number of regional and international sporting events it hosts, especially if the country wins the right to the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games. What is clear, however, is that the government has recognised that athletics can be a vital part of broader economic development.

December 4 – The Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) has launched its first SIGA Youth Forum that will take take place on January 27-28 next month.

The two-day online forum will comprise 12 digital webinar sessions, and is aimed at young leaders, under 30 years of age, from around the world with the aim of promoting youth empowerment in and through sport.

SIGA recently formed its own Youth Council to give young sports-focussed administrators and athletes a voice within the integrity area.

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, global CEO of SIGA and chairman & CEO of SIGA AMERICA, said: “A global movement is emerging with Youth at the helm and Sport Integrity at its core. Bridging the insights of the world’s youth, the passion of genuine fans and the foresight of visionary leaders, SIGA is setting the path for the future of Sport.

Topics will cover:

  • Creating Global Dynamics for Effective Cultural Change
  • The Power of Technology, Social Media and Digital
  • For a Sport with Values: Race, Gender, Diversity & Inclusion!
  • Accountability: Creating Pressure on Sports Organisations to Reform Themselves
  • Sport Integrity: Vision 2030
  • Social Responsibility and the Power of Athletes to influence Social Changes
  • Why Global Business Needs to Do More for Sport Integrity
  • Youth Development and Child Protection in Sport: Walking the Talk
  • Start-ups and Entrepreneurs: Shaping Sport Integrity Now
  • Careers in Sport Integrity: Opening the Door to the Next Generation
  • eSports: the Integrity Challenges of the Fastest Growing Sport
  • Clean Sport: Mission Impossible?

Attendance at the forum is free of charge. To register click here.


Coinciding with the launch of the SIGA Youth Forum, the integrity group has launched its latest campaign – #StandWithSIGA – that encourages individuals and organisations to sign up to its core integrity goals of:


  • Sports Organisations must govern themselves and operate under the highest governance principles, including democracy, transparency, accountability and stakeholder engagement.


  • Sports Organisations must uphold and respect the fundamental principles of sports ethics, which reflect the values of fair play, solidarity, respect for the rule of law, human rights, dignity, integrity, diversity and inclusiveness.


  • Sports Organisations must take accountability for their own affairs and implement a zero-tolerance policy against all types criminality (including corruption, bribery, money-laundering, tax evasion, smuggling and trafficking of minors), as well as racism, violence and all forms of abuse and discrimination.


  • Whilst recognising Sport’s specific nature and autonomy, Sports Organisations must respect and comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the governance, regulation and administration of Sport.


  • Sports Organisations must implement and comply with the SIGA Universal Standards on Sport Integrity and be independently scrutinised through SIRVS.

Register your support here.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.llabtoofdlrowedisni@noslohcin.luap


(ATR) Kevin Roberts is being remembered for his humor and grace as a moderator for sports conferences worldwide.

Roberts died suddenly at his home in Kent, England on Dec. 2. Friends say they believe he was struck with some form of cardiac failure. He was 61.

He was the founding editor for SportBusiness in 1995. He left the company to open a consulting practice and then returned in 2019 as group editorial director for the SportBusiness Group.

Roberts moderated conferences organized by SportBusiness, SportAccord, Host Cities, Sportel and others.

International sports consultant Jon Tibbs says he developed a strong friendship with Roberts through decades of worldwide encounters far from their homes in Kent.

“From Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan, China to Lima, Peru Kevin was one of the consummate pros on the conference stage. Even when the presentations became boring, he was able to keep things lively with his grace and humor,” says Tibbs, head of consulting and communications group JTA.

Swiss sports consultant Michel Filliau worked with Roberts through the years on various projects.

“I loved working with him. We could work on projects without speaking thousands of words between us,” says Filliau.

Riccardo Silva and Marco Auletta of SportBusiness owner Silva International expressed condolences on behalf of the London-based company.

“We speak for everyone at SportBusiness Group when we say we are devastated by the sudden loss of Kevin. He was fundamental to the success of the editorial team and his legacy is the dynamism of our subscription products. But more than anything we will miss his wonderful sense of humour, energy and passion for sport.”

Host City 2020 Next Week

A global audience of more than 1,000 major event industry professionals is expected to attend the seventh edition of the Host City conference and exhibition on Dec. 8-9.

The annual international meeting of cities and sports, hosted by EventScotland and Glasgow Life, is virtual this year.

The theme is "The Big Restart: Recovery with a Purpose for the Digital Age” and the opening session will feature keynotes from IOC member and former WADA president Craig Reedie and Paris 2024 CEO Etienne Thobois among others.

Among the latest speakers to join are World Curling president Kate Caithness and Jimena Saldaña, Vice President of the Mexican Olympic Committee.

ATR Editor Ed Hula will moderate the closing session from 15:10-15:45 GMT.

“What’s next for the events sector?” is the question to be explored with Jakob Larsen of World Athletics, Geoff Ellis, CEO, DF Concerts and Bridget McConnell, Chief Executive, Glasgow Life.

In a written interview with Around the Rings, Host City Conference Director Ben Avison revealed last week what it was like to plan around a pandemic and what's in store for the first virtual edition of the event.

Click here to read the interview.

Click here to book your free pass.

Inaugural #worldconnected Series Launched

The Global Esports Federation marks its first anniversary by hosting the inaugural edition of the #worldconnected series (#wcs20).

The #wcs20, which runs from Dec. 17-19, includes GEFcon - the Global Esports Federation Convention - as well as a series of regional esports competitions hosted by GEF member federations across the world.

GEFcon will feature exclusive live webinar sessions and a series of sessions on-demand that are designed for the collective benefit of esports. Visit for full program and registration details.

“It has been an eventful year since we embarked on the mission to establish the credibility, legitimacy, and prestige for esports at the worldwide launch of the Global Esports Federation in Singapore,” said Chris Chan, Global Esports Federation president, in a statement.

“The first #worldconnected series and GEFcon is truly a global platform bringing together our Member Federations and Partners in support of our mission – cultivating collaborations, forging synergies, developing and growing the connections between esports and sport in communities across the world.”

Global Sports Week Paris Adds Founding Partner

Global Sports Week Paris adds a new founding partner with adidas coming on board.

The iconic sports brand joins France's Ministry of Sport, French banking group BPCE and EGG Events in the top-tier category. EDF and Vivendi are associate partners.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), UN Women and World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) are among those who will help to co-create the event as official ‘Proud Supporters.’

The second edition will again be held under the patronage of UNESCO and the high patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The event will run from February 1-5, 2021 and will take place primarily online, with speakers linked live across studio settings in Paris and five future Olympic host cities – Beijing, Tokyo, Milan, Dakar and Los Angeles. Where local health conditions allow, physical events will also be organized with support from France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Global Sports Week will also feature a first-of-its-kind virtual exhibition – the GSWMarketplace – comprising immersive, customizable and interactive booths, accessible for businesses and organizations of all types and sizes.

Written by Gerard Farek

For general comments or questions, click here.


THE TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) is searching for a new home.

The TTOC has been renting the property at 121 Abercromby Street in Port of Spain since the 1990s, but it is now for sale. The TTOC has been in existence since the 1940s, but has never had a place to call their own.

In a brief interview with Newsday, on Wednesday, president of the TTOC Brian Lewis said since becoming president in 2013 it has been his goal to find a place for the local Olympic committee.

The surrounding area has been utilised by TTOC over the years. TTOC celebrates Olympic Day at Lord Harris Square, opposite Olympic House.

Olympic Day is commemorated annually by over 200 national Olympic committees worldwide on June 23.

Every year children get the opportunity to meet TT athletes at the event and also get the chance to participate in various sports.


(ATR) A global audience of more than 1,000 major event industry professionals is expected to attend the seventh edition of the Host City conference and exhibition on Dec. 8-9.

For the first time, the annual international meeting of cities and sports will be virtual this year. It is also free to attend.

The theme is "The Big Restart: Recovery with a Purpose for the Digital Age” and the opening session will feature keynotes from IOC member and former WADA president Craig Reedie and Paris 2024 CEO Etienne Thobois among others.

In a written interview with Around the Rings, Host City Conference Director Ben Avison revealed what it was like to plan around a pandemic and what's in store for the first virtual edition of the event.

ATR: Given the pandemic, I would assume there was a backup plan in place should a face-to-face gathering not work out. How far in advance was that planning set in motion? When was it decided to switch to virtual? What have been the difficulties in switching to virtual? Are there advantages to doing it virtually?

Ben Avison: Event organizers thrive off certainty, and this year there has been precious little of that. All we can do in these circumstances is plan for different scenarios and adapt to change.

Host City has grown every year since its launch in 2014, and by last year’s event the venue we’d been in for many years was packed to the rafters with 350 people and 30 stands. So we started 2020 all set to move to the Scottish Event Campus on 8-9 December for another year of growth, envisaging 500 people and 50 stands.
Bridget McConnell of Glasgow Life (speaking) and Paul Bush of EventScotland (far right) at a previous Host City, (Host City)

When it became apparent that the coronavirus outbreak was becoming a global pandemic, we started to plan for three potential scenarios: a physical event; a virtual event; and a hybrid event. We stayed in very close contact with our primary supporting partners, Event Scotland, who have been extremely helpful in backing us through all these possibilities, along with Glasgow Life and Glasgow Convention Bureau. We kept a conference venue on hold and started trialing virtual and hybrid platforms as far back as mid-March. Meanwhile we continued building up a world-class agenda and speaker line-up that would hold strong regardless of format.

While it looked for a while that a physical gathering in Glasgow might be possible, by September we aligned on the only scenario we could be certain of delivering: a virtual-only event, hosted by Glasgow-based producers Cameron Live, who use a platform called HopIn that enables all the hallmarks of Host City: world class networking alongside a great conference and exhibition space.

Going virtual has opened up a lot of possibilities. The quality of speakers at Host City is always very high, but not having to travel has made it even more accessible. We’ve also made it more accessible for delegates, taking the decision to make Host City 2020 free to attend, while retaining exclusivity for VIPs, speakers and sponsors to network together in a structured way.

With a virtual platform, the conference organizer has infinite space to play with, no longer bound by the number and size of rooms. So you can expect a much higher attendance than usual (1,000+) and streamed content to cater for everyone’s interests – a festival of events!

ATR: Last week you announced six strategic partners, including two new ones in the Global Esports Federation and the Association of International Convention Centres. What do each bring to the table?

BA: Our Strategic Partner program, launched last year, has really contributed to the size and scope of Host City. The Strategic Partners each represent different stakeholder groups – hosts (International Association of Event Hosts and Glasgow Convention Bureau), venues (AIPC and AEG Europe), suppliers (Association of Global Event Suppliers) and rights holders (Global Esports Federation), every one of them helping to spread the word about Host City to their members and networks.

The Strategic Partners also bring expertise and fantastic speakers.

ATR: You've got quite the speaker line-up for this virtual edition. Who are some of the biggest names? How does this line-up compare to previous editions? Has the pandemic actually helped in getting additional speakers who might otherwise not be able to attend?

BA: Every year the quality of speakers at Host City seems to reach even greater heights and 2020 is no exception – it’s better than ever. Everyone speaking brings unique experiences and perspectives from sports, business and cultural events.

Some of the biggest names on the Olympic and sports side include Etienne Thobois, CEO, Paris 2024 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games; Roxana Mărăcineanu, Minister of Sports, France; Francesco Ricci Bitti, President, Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF); Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, DL, Independent Crossbench Peer, The House of Lords; Sir Craig Reedie GBE, IOC Member, Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, Member, International Olympic Committee and Vice President, Badminton World Federation; Ian Reid, CEO, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games; Brian Lewis, President, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee; Sabrina Ibanez, Secretary General, FEI; Kate Caithness CBE, President, World Curling, Paul J Foster, COO, Global Esports Federation – and of course our Supporting Partners’ Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland and Bridget McConnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life. There are also many leading representatives of the world’s greatest cultural, entertainment and business events.

As for whether the pandemic has helped: being able to join from home has probably played a part, but we are pretty sure that everyone will be raring to meet face to face again. Thankfully this is now looking like a distinct possibility, so watch this space for announcements about Host City 2021 and another “best ever” speaker line-up!

ATR: The theme for this year's event - "The Big Restart: Recovery with a Purpose for the Digital Age." - seems perfect for the times we are living in. What are some of the highlights for the program that will help make the theme a reality?

Trinidad & Tobago NOC president Brian Lewis will speak on the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement. (TTOC)

BA: There have been times this year when it seemed that the 2020 conference theme might have been overly optimistic. Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the events industry. But from where we stand right now, with vaccines and mass testing in sight, the Big Restart is really starting to feel just around the corner. The return of sports, business and cultural events won’t happen overnight – the process of recovery will be gradual, and the conference is all about what shape and form the recovery is going to take and what we need to do to get there in terms of support and strategy.

The conference theme really homes in on the purpose of major events – what kind of values are important to different stakeholders? Diversity and inclusion take pride of place on this year’s agenda. We particularly bring the Black Lives Matter movement to the fore, finding out how it is impacting the events sector.

The environmental impact of major events is also given greater platform than ever at Host City, with the sustainability chiefs of the worlds two biggest events – Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup – talking about how they are kicking the carbon habit.

The pandemic has massively accelerated digitalization, so it will be very interesting to find out how physical and digital events are converging – and what this means for the future, with Gen Zers taking to the stage to let us know what makes them tick.

So it’s all about content, community and connectivity. Everyone is welcome – come and join us!

Homepage photo: Host City

For general comments or questions, click here.

The sacking comes after revelations that the players had made racist comments on social media between 2011 and 2013.
Pablo Matera has been stripped of the Argentina captaincy and suspended, along with teammates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, for posting racist comments on social media.

The Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) said on Tuesday its board had met urgently after revelations that the players had made racist comments on social media between 2011 and 2013.

The team said that although the posts were old and did "not represent the personal integrity that the three have shown during their current period with the Pumas," action had to be taken.

"The Argentine Rugby Union strongly repudiates the discriminatory and xenophobic comments published by members of the Los Pumas squad on social networks," the UAR said in a statement.

"Although the messages were expressed between 2011 and 2013 ... the Argentine Rugby Union condemns any expression of hatred and we consider it unacceptable that those who express them represent our country."

In his tweets, since deleted, Matera spoke of "running over blacks" with his car and disparaged Bolivians and Paraguayans.

The posts, mostly tweets, reportedly were aimed at Black people and Bolivian and Paraguayan domestic workers.

Matera has closed his Twitter account and expressed regret over the messages on Instagram.

“Today I have to take [responsibility] for what I said nine years ago,” Matera said. “I am very ashamed. Apologies to all those who were offended by the atrocities I wrote. At that moment I did not imagine who I was going to become.

"I’m also sorry to my team and my family for the moment they are going through ... and thanks to the people who love me for their support.”

The UAR said it had requested Pumas staff propose a new captain to the board and have the players stood down pending a "disciplinary process."

A team spokesman said the Pumas had cancelled all planned media activities on Tuesday and referred Reuters to the UAR's statement.

The scandal has thrown the Argentina camp into crisis days before their final Tri-Nations match against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

Coach Mario Ledesma's side were thrashed 38-0 by the All Blacks on Saturday, a major reversal from their breakthrough 25-15 win over the New Zealanders in their opening match of the Tri-Nations last month.