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'Use athletes as face of VI Tourism' - Hon Fraser to BVITB

- Says Tourist Board not doing enough to capitalise on opportunity
A billboard with a photo of long jumper Chantel E. Malone in the vicinity of the QE II Bridge in East End in October 2019. The billboard was advertising a recognition ceremony by Government to honour Malone for winning Pan Am Games gold. Photo: VINO
Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) believes that the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) is not doing enough to capitalize on the popularity of local athletes to promote the VI's tourism products. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) believes that the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) is not doing enough to capitalize on the popularity of local athletes to promote the VI's tourism products. Photo: VINO/File
Chantel E. Malone, left, and hurdler Kyron A. McMaster, right, have been named the BVI Athletics Association (BVIAA) Senior Athletes of 2019. Photo: BVIAA/Facebook/Taiwan News
Chantel E. Malone, left, and hurdler Kyron A. McMaster, right, have been named the BVI Athletics Association (BVIAA) Senior Athletes of 2019. Photo: BVIAA/Facebook/Taiwan News
Virgin Islands youth sailor Thad A. Lettsome, representing Tabor Academy, sailed to victory in the New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA) Single Handed Championship held at Lewis Bay in Massachusetts, USA on October5-6, 2019. Photo: nessa.hssailing.org
Virgin Islands youth sailor Thad A. Lettsome, representing Tabor Academy, sailed to victory in the New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA) Single Handed Championship held at Lewis Bay in Massachusetts, USA on October5-6, 2019. Photo: nessa.hssailing.org
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Following recent stellar performances by Virgin Islands' athletes at major international sporting events, Opposition Member Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) believes the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) is not doing enough to capitalise on the popularity of local athletes to promote the Virgin Islands' tourism products.

Reflecting on the deliberations of the Standing Finance Committee held in November 2019, Hon Fraser told the House of Assembly (HoA) on December 13, 2019, "When the Tourist Board came before us, I had a question for the Tourist Board and my question was, are you satisfied you are utilising the vast potential of that is available to you through our athletes, by making them poster child [and] athletes for the Virgin Islands?"

Hon Fraser continued, "I am not convinced that they are, Mr Speaker. We have a Commonwealth Gold Medalist, we have the Pan Am Gold Medalist, but I don't see them being the face of the Virgin Islands."

Stellar performance for VI star athletes 

In 2019, VI star athletes made great strides in their respective disciplines, the biggest being Long Jumper Chantel E. Malone striking gold at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. It was the first ever Pan Am Games medal for the Territory.

In 2018 Hurdler Kyron A. McMaster struck the Virgin Islands first ever Commonwealth Games gold, when he won the 400m Hurdles final on April 12, 2018 in Australia. McMaster also won gold at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia and at the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Athletics Senior Championships in Toronto, Canada.

He also successfully defended his title at the Diamond League, a meet for elite professional athletes held at various venues across Europe.

In 2019, McMaster was third in the Diamond League final. He also qualified for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and placed 4th in the final on September 30, 2019.

McMaster, who has a Personal Best of 47.54 in the 400m Hurdles, is currently third in the IAAF World Rankings.

For the third consecutive year, both Malone and McMaster were named the BVI Athletics Association (BVIAA) Senior Athletes of the Year.

On the sailing front, Thad A. Lettsome emerged as champion in NESSA Single Handed Championship held October 5-6, 2019 after another great year of sailing and more recently, Virgin Islander professional basketball player Leslee J. Smith signed with Plymouth Raiders as part of the British Basketball League.

Endorsements 

"I believe that the Tourist Board should take the charge in making that happen," Hon Fraser further told the House.

He said endorsements via the athletes can bring much-needed funding to the sector, "I implore the Tourist Board to make a push in this direction... these people who are desperately in need of financial support, they can get it."

18 Responses to “'Use athletes as face of VI Tourism' - Hon Fraser to BVITB”

  • bvi (01/01/2020, 11:28) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    FRASER FOR PREMIER 2023
  • Not2Sure (01/01/2020, 11:42) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good point but the VIP just got in office
  • I remember (01/01/2020, 12:10) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not to long ago someone blog about the same thing. Who best to promote the BVI but the local athletes. They travel the world and they will be best fit to promote the BVI.
    • they are athletes (02/01/2020, 10:30) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      When they travel the world they travel to perform in their chosen field. They are not at this stage to do any kind of promotions.

      If you burden them with these responsibilities you will see their performances will suffer.
  • Hmm (01/01/2020, 16:00) Like (13) Dislike (5) Reply
    Clearly Frazer and a lot of others have no clue how Tourism works. Athletes do not drive Tourism. Not a single person ever said let me save up my money and take a vacation to Jamaica because Bolt was born there. Or man I would really like to go to Maryland because Michael Phelps is from Maryland. NEVER!

    Your star athletes can be used for Public Relations for the territory. That has absolutely nothing to do with Tourism. It is more to do with National Pride. That is something for the Ministry of Sports and Culture NOT Tourism.

    Now if we upgrade our sporting facilities, then we can have tournaments and track meets here. This would drive Tourism in that people would come to the Territory (as sports- related) Tourists. Now the Tourism Board can get involved.

    Now you can use the popularity of Chantel and Kyron to attract big name athletes to participate in the events, which will draw more tourists.

    But without world class sporting facilities and world class sporting events, there is very little that Chantel and Kyron can do to drive Tourism.
    • tretretrete (01/01/2020, 22:38) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      The BVI needs a Sports Tourism Officer
    • Future (25/01/2020, 10:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Your statement is not quite true. When traveling to games athletes represent the country, they travel as ambassadors. There are many sporting events that I have been to that people know nothing or have never heard of the VI (UK) but have heard of the USVI. They don't know the difference. When we trade pins and trinkets they have a reason to look up the VI (UK) and I know, personally, visitors that came from just that interaction. There is more that can be done because the next question is always asked: "when can we have a competition there?" So we need to build our facilities, this is correct. We need to stop always looking to government and put in a bit ourselves to have what we need. We sometimes act like we dont have power, we need to utilize that power.
  • SAY I SAY SO (01/01/2020, 18:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    donkey h**e they cause people to draw attention by putting us on the map

    • lol (01/01/2020, 22:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      That is called public relations and it's not Tourism. BVI is already a highly sought after place to visit and is already on the map and nearly a million people go bvi every year. Give me a break.

      Jamaica been on the map. Usain Bolt is one of the winningest athletes ever. Reps Jamaica hard. Not one single additional Tourist decide to go Jamaica because Bolt from there. They go for other reasons. Without track meets to bring people in the country then it really isn't going to affect tourism
  • great (01/01/2020, 21:17) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    I agree with Hon Fraser
  • Sam (01/01/2020, 22:44) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    I didn't not even realize BVI athletes do so well. So much depth and research goes into these articles mehson, you just do not see that on the other media... vino bias but they next level.
    • @ sam (02/01/2020, 05:07) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      Sorry vino is the only fair and balance site in the bvi and thats a fact
  • Sam (02/01/2020, 07:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Finally someone was listening i remember hearing this from scatliffe on the campaign trail he had great ideas about this.
  • my 2 cents (02/01/2020, 07:40) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Fraser has to remain relevant yall
  • E. Leonard (02/01/2020, 14:44) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Tourism is the main economic driver for many regional countries; it is 1/2 of the VI economic twin pillars; financial services, the other. The regional competition for the tourist dollar is fierce. Most regional countries use the sand-sun-sea model; the sea is a major attraction. Stay over tourists want to want walk from their hotel room onto the white beach and into the blue water. To be highly competitive in the tourism sector, the VI has to differentiate itself, providing a difference it can preserve. It must provide greater value or provide a comparable value at a lower cost or do both with efficacy. A First World infrastructure(water, wastewater, electric power, drainage,telecommunications), transportation, a myriad and variety of attractions, security/safety.....etc is vital to being one of the top small destinations in the region. Though financial services generate more government revenue, tourism provide more direct and indirect employment. As such, tourism has as to be strengthened, deepened and diversified (the whole economy needs to be diversified).

    Moreover, local athletes success at the Summer Olympics, Pan Am, World Championship.....etc games helps immensely in putting the VI, a small brown dot in the Caribbean Sea, on the map, making millions, if not billions, aware of the VI. Local athletes success on the big stages create priceless curiosity among millions with the discretionary income to vacation in the region. The VI needs to coalesce with other regional countries, ie, USVI.....etc to deepen and extend the visitor experience; it can be a win-win for all locations. The visitor must leave with a “WOW” factor that they can take back and share with family, friends, co-workers, social club members, church members.......etc. The VI must become a must see destination.
    • Tourister (02/01/2020, 17:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @E. Leonard, are you saying that in addition to top athletes successfully demonstrating their athletic prowess on the track that they are also good ambassadors and should be enlisted to promote tourism around the globe? If they should be put on the payroll and taxpayers should fund their training. By the way, let’s hold the land giveaway in abeyance.


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