Invited sporting associations throughout the Northern Bahamas got an ear full about what it takes to pull off a successful international event.
The first Northern Bahamas Sports Symposium, held on Saturday, April 1 at the Pelican Bay Resort, featured a number of presenters and panelists that broke down what goes into hosting a major event with the Ministry of Tourism’s partnership.
With an array of topics discussed, including event planning, partnership, public relations, sponsorship, sanctioning, packaging and tournaments/events – association representatives appeared to walk away with a better idea of how to plan or propose an event they feel can bring visitors to the island.
Director of Sales North America and former Director of Sports Tourism, Greg Rolle, illustrated that the base for Sports Tourism in The Bahamas has been set throughout the country.
“The foundation for Sports Tourism in the country has now been laid. We are there folks and those who are – the federations and associations – the Ministry of Tourism is going to work with you to ensure that we facilitate and get our bang for the money that’s in Sports Tourism,” he said.
With The Bahamas’ close proximity to Florida, Rolle said it was time for the country to “cash in on what we have.
“We want to be recognized globally as a competitive destination. And, I think we’re well on our way to making sure that The Bahamas is one of the key components of whatever we do.
“I think if one thing we learned from being so close to the United States, everyone has an opportunity to see a world class standard. And we in The Bahamas are no different.”
Manager of Groups and Events, Sanique Culmer was the first presenter for the morning.
She highlighted that the experience begins at the arrival gate with transportation.
She added that her job entails facilitating the need of meeting planners and incentive travel planners, who wish to bring their meetings, conferences and incentive trips to The Bahamas.
Culmer explained that there is certain questions persons should ask themselves when wanting to plan an event.
“What is the purpose of the event? What do you want to achieve from the event? And, who is your target audience?
“According to Wikipedia event management is defined as the process of planning and coordinating the event, which can include budgeting, scheduling, site selection, acquiring necessary permits, coordination transportation and parking, arranging for speakers and entertainers, arranging décor, security, catering and coordination with third party vendors and emergency plans,” she listed.
Above all, she stressed that determining a budget is very important.
“Knowing your budget will allow you to know which items are necessities and which items are luxuries. Also having a budget will narrow your choices for entertainment, catering and any other items you may have.
“After you have confirmed your budget, the next step to determine is your schedule. Create a timeline – if you may – at least six months out (from the event). In addition to a schedule of deadlines – which includes meetings, invitation send outs and other important dates – make sure that you follow your timeline. This will ensure you don’t miss your deadlines and allow you to stay organized.”
Director of Sports Tourism Nassau, Virginia Kelly expressed the importance of the symposium.
She said that it is vital that the MOT have a dedicated Sports Tourism Department to let the public know how they are building the program.
“We also need them to know that Grand Bahama is very much a part of the whole economic development plan that we have for the Islands of The Bahamas and certainly through Sports Tourism.
“The presentations are right on point, because what we’re talking about, we’re letting the stakeholders know how we all together can do it. It’s just not the Ministry of Tourism.
“Pretty much, each event that we bring we touch almost every government department and as a result of everything we do there’s also the economic impact.
“So now you have people beginning to work. Straw vendors are working, local food vendors are working; because people who come for Sports Tourism in particular they are every adventurous and they want to hang out at places like the Fish Fry and they just want to be where the local people are at.”
Published Monday, April 3, 2017