Roberts: What tourism benefits from T20 World Cup?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition Senator Anil Roberts makes a point during debate on April 30 in the Upper House on the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2024 Bill. – Photo courtesy the Office of the Parliament

WILL this country’s tourism stakeholders reap sufficient benefits from the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup, one member of the Parliament’s Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Foreign Affairs asked at a sitting on May 15. The event will be held in the Caribbean and United States from June 1-29,

While Tourism Trinidad Ltd and the Tobago Tourism Agency were now members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the CWC, the JSC sitting questioned whether they had much input into the scheduled events.

JSC member Anil Roberts suggested the schedule should have mandated cricket teams spent their down-time in Tobago, for the island’s financial benefit.

He wanted to know if Tourism Trinidad Ltd and the Tobago Tourism Agency had made inputs into the organising of the events, including which package of matches the Government should have bid to host so as to help tourism in Trinidad and Tobago. Alleging a lack of synergy among local bodies, he said the event showed Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism thrust was disjointed.

“The LOC was set up after the bid was awarded, after the packages were sought, after we were given what we were given.”

Saying the tourist bodies would want to use the tournament to bring awareness to Trinidad and Tobago for the most number of cricket viewers, he asked if the bodies had participated in Trinidad and Tobago’s creation of a package on which to bid to host.

“Was your input sought? Consultation? What should we be looking for? What sort of teams?

“What would encourage our diaspora to come home? Who has the greatest contribution to make to come to Trinidad and Tobago to spend money?”

Roberts asked if they were involved before, rather than just now in the LOC.

Tourism Trinidad CEO Carla Cupid replied, “In terms of our involvement, that is not something that I can speak to at this point. We will happily provide it in writing.”

Tobago Tourism Agency interim CEO Phillip Robinson replied likewise.

Roberts reckoned the two bodies had not been consulted before the bids were made.

“These two people here are experts in marketing, in understanding Trinidad and Tobago’s destination and building awareness.

“I would think these would be the people that if we are going to host a major global event, would be the ones to chart the course, to build the package, to say what we want to achieve.” However he said he was seeing they were only told and informed “after the decision was made.”

Roberts said, “Efficacy would mean that the brightest and the best, the experts, begin and get an opportunity to serve at the beginning rather than being handed something.

“This is why we have Uganda versus Papua New Guinea at US$6.

“I don’t think we are going to get ‘awareness’ from that.”