The benefits of Trinidad and Tobago hosting the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) can extend beyond the seven days of competition into medium to long-term international collaborations in sport, business and tourism, it has been claimed.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Executive Board voted 6-4 for the dual-island Caribbean nation to host the event last week, beating Gibraltar to the honour.
It followed an impressive presentation led by Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) President Brian Lewis.
A new host had to be selected for the 2021 CYG following last year's decision by the CGF to strip the original hosts Belfast of the event because of the political deadlock in Northern Ireland.
Writing for the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, Anand Rampersad, an instructor in sociology in the department of behavioural sciences at the University of the West Indies' St Augustine campus, claimed the 2021 CYG provides an opportunity for Trinidad and Tobago to showcase itself to the rest of the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.
He also stated that a major advantage that the country has is that the facilities for the multi-sport event are "already established to a large extent".
Among them are the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain and the National Racquet Sports Centre in Tacarigua, as well as the National Aquatic Centre and National Cycling Velodrome in Couva.
"[The venues] will on be on show not only for the 2021 Games but also for marketing to international clubs and federations as future training and competition venues," Rampersad writes.
"Additionally, the TTCGA will have the opportunity to work with the Ministries, the THA (Tobago House of Assembly), businesses, cultural artists and the people of T&T, to ensure that Trinbago culture is well represented and marketed to the rest of the world."
The TTCGA has promised an "innovative, exciting and inspirational digital strategy" for the 2021 CYG, it has been claimed.
This includes a digital strategy aimed at generating significant youth engagement and participation among the Commonwealth community.
Rampersad believes the event could have a long-lasting legacy and cited a study by Mohammad Hadi Tavakkoli on the effect of the 2008 CYG on sport tourism in Pune to back up his point.
Tavakkoli highlighted how the Indian city benefited from development in sports infrastructure, job creation and an increase in the staging of national and international competitions post-2008.
"The experiences that the athletes, officials and fans achieve must motivate them to return to T&T, and those who follow the 2021 Games via traditional media – television and print – and social media interest must also be piqued into wanting to visit the shores of T&T," Rampersad added.
"By hosting the CYG 2021, the potential for an economic multiplier effect is great as was evident in Pune 2008 where there was observed growth in food and beverage, cultural and handcraft, and travelling services.
"The TTCGA has two years to collaborate with all its major local and international stakeholders to make CYG 2021 the best-ever event for athletes and officials, and the best-ever cultural experience.
"There will be challenges, but the TTCGA has the opportunity to review the postmortems of previous Games, such as the Bahamas 2017, to ensure that all advantages are maximised and all disadvantages are eliminated or minimised into being inconsequential."
The 2021 CYG will be the seventh edition of the event and is due to take place from August 1 to 7.