“The creative industries are, in the popular definition of the term – those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property” – www.coe.int
If we reflect on our history we think about the progression from the agricultural revolution (land, labour and self-sufficiency) to the industrial revolution (land, labour, capital and exports) and then the information and telecommunications revolutions (knowledge and the Internet). Now, we find that there is a need to diversify our economies by recognizing the contribution that can be made by mobilising Cultural Capital and diversifying into the Cultural Economy. The Council of Europe, in the above website, introduces terms such as Cultural Capital, Creative Ecology, Culture and Economy, Cultural Diversity and Creative Industries in the context of the new Cultural Economy.
The sectors of the Cultural Economy generally include: design; film, video, new media; leisure software/computer games; TV, radio and Internet broadcasting; advertising and architecture; music; publishing; and visual arts & crafts. These sectors have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. But what about sports? Surely the brand Windies Cricket has potential for wealth creation and there are considerations of intellectual property. It should certainly be included as a sector in the Cultural Economy.
Like any other sector, the development process must take place systematically with a well defined vision, a mission which acts as a beacon to guide the business forward, an analysis of the business environment leading to an assessment of the need to change and the strategic priorities. At this stage, long term objectives are set for the major functions of the business including marketing, human resources, operations, administration, information technology, intellectual property, corporate & legal affairs and finance. Then the first year Action Plan is determined which states the activities have to be pursued in the first year towards the ultimate achievement of the strategic objectives. The business is then managed to success within the context of the mobilization of talent, creative marketing initiatives, smart partnerships, a user-friendly enabling environment provided by the government and the appropriate instruments provided by the financial sector.
There is an abundance of talent in Barbados and the Caribbean which provides a cultural diversity par excellence. We need to turn these concepts into commercial realties, to use the jargon of CBET. The tourism market is a natural market for the cultural economy. Satisfied tourists will make referrals as well as provide repeat business. Then there is the opportunity to follow the tourist back home with the cultural pot pourri and expand the market in this way. Another natural market is the Caribbean Diaspora in metropolitan cities. This can easily be exploited with a natural add-on effect to friends and extended families of the Diaspora in these cities.
The success of the Windies cricket brand over the years, has resulted in the West Indies Cricket Board’s successful bid for World Cup 2007. An unprecedented opportunity to show case our Cultural Diversity and develop our Cultural Economy. The legacy of World Cup 2007, both natural and contrived, will result in a sustainable tourism marketing opportunity. Accommodation will be needed to meet this tourist demand during the World Cup and when the legacy impact is realized. One such investment opportunity is Springcourt (www.spring-court.com), which is a high-end west coast style development on the up and coming south coast. It consists of 25 condominiums of west coast quality at south coast prices and will be completed in 2006.
The driving force in any business is the success of its marketing. A key element in marketing is Communication and Public Relations. I my view, the mass media have a very important role to play. Indeed, I feel that the mass media can be the integrating factor in the success of the Caribbean economic exploits. There is, however, a gap between the current exploits of the media and their potential to impact the development of the Caribbean economies. There has been an attempt to close this gap over the past 3-4 four years through the advent of CMEx, the Caribbean media exchange on sustainable tourism. If the global demand for these CMEx interventions is any thing to go by, CMEx, and its more recent shorter formulation CMExPress, has certainly been a step in the right direction.
Trinidadian, Caribbean and international journalists will go to bat on the region’s hosting of the World Cup cricket competition in 2007 at CMExPress to be held in Port-of-Spain next month. The links between the media, sports and tourism will then be explored.
‘The Caribbean people are passionate for this game but will the sustainable benefits of the World Cup slip by them? Will the region be stumped by the aftermath of the Cup?’ asked Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, the organisers of CMEx to be held on Friday, February 25, 2005.
Delegates will also widen their focus to examine how sports tourism as a whole affects Caribbean economies, culture and society. They will examine how this sector can be tapped to the benefit of the region.