Dear Prime Minister,
We say we are pegging our future on the success of a strengthened Tourism Industry but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot by not strengthening Caribbean Airlines nor presenting our strategic plan. The current shouting about Sport Tourism will fail because there are NO bedrooms around the excellent facilities which have been built in Central Trinidad.
To borrow a phrase from Dr. Gabrielle Hosein, “If I was the Prime Minister” here is what I would do to make sports tourism a reality.
I would convert the Couva Children’s Hospital into a sports tourism complex which could house athletes and provide a service for the convalescence of international, regional and local athletes. (There is no facility where athletes can convalesce in the region).
I would invite accomplished sports doctors and physiotherapists to function there during the winter periods or periods which coincide with off-season training of athletes and cyclists.
I would go after the hosting of a major international swim or cycling activity to show off my facilities to the world.
The Couva Hospital is ideal because it has a good combination of wards (which can provide dormitory facilities for athletes), private rooms which can house officials and medics, cafeteria facilities, recreational facilities and medical facilities. More importantly, it is within an easy commute from our world class facilities. Without bedrooms and other amenities, the aquatic centre and the cycling centre would have a difficult time attracting the traffic that is needed to make them viable.
These suggestions will put us ahead of the curve in several ways.