Men playing cricket on beach (Image Credit | Pexels)

Sports tourism has been around for centuries. Indeed, the Olympic Games in their modern incarnation were launched in 1896, but a version of the event has existed since before the birth of Christ and would involve athletes and spectators travelling around the Greek Empire to enjoy those sporting exploits, spending money wherever they went.

Those beneficial impacts are still very much felt today. As a sport which is practiced by some of the smallest nations on the planet, cricket has traditionally held an important role in this sense, with the most recent Team India tour of the West Indies demonstrating the value of such endeavours to the local economy. But how exactly are the benefits felt in concrete terms? Here are a handful of the tangible advantages that India’s tour has brought to Caribbean nations.

Economic stimulus

It’s only logical that tourism has a positive economic impact on the environment which it visits, regardless of the reasons for the influx of tourists. A 2015 review of England’s tour of the West Indies, for example, found that the direct economic effect of the tour was a whopping $$59.8 million, with spectator spend accounting for over $50 million of that figure. Although no such comparable appraisal has yet been made of India’s tour, the fact that seven years of inflation have elapsed since indicates that the benefit to the Caribbean economy will be just as significant.

A secondary method of revenue generation brought about by the tour is via the local sports betting industry. Although the practice is legal and available in many of the Caribbean islands, the advent of cryptocurrency betting has made it all the more accessible, as is attested by these Bitcoin casino reviews which highlight just how easy crypto has made betting on sports today.

Closer ties between countries

During the tour, the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind made a symbolic gift of 100 cricket kits to the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), which indicated that at least half of the kits would go to high school children. This present was indicative of the warm relations between the two countries despite their geographical differences and the president of the JCA Wilfred Billy Heaven said that visits from the Indian team are always the most beneficial for his association.

What’s more, several Jamaican ministers spoke out about how India and Jamaica could use the occasion as a springboard for greater commercial, economic and environmental collaboration in the future. Student/teacher exchanges and the sharing of technological and technical knowledge in the fields of education and sustainability were seen as particularly promising avenues of cooperation.

Grassroots development

Finally, the arrival of the Indian cricket team in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries is vital for bolstering the popularity of the sport locally. When youngsters are able to see professional sportsmen plying their trade in the flesh, it inspires a desire for them to emulate them on the field and promotes cricket in the region.

With 17 Caribbean players currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), there is certainly scope for a new generation of Caribbean cricketing talent to break through and take up their mantle. Given that half of those aforementioned kits have already been earmarked for youngsters keen to get into the game, it’s clear that things are progressing on the right track.

As well as the direct injection of cash that sports tourism brings to the local Caribbean economy, the visit of the India cricket team also served to tighten diplomatic and commercial relations, as well as inspiring the youth of Caribbean countries to take up bat and ball.