The Ministry of Tourism intends to capitalise on the popularity of explosive West Indies and Jamaican opening batsman-turned-reggae-artiste Chris Gayle, in making inroads in the huge-but-untapped Asian market.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says that Gayle, being one of only four players to have scored two triple centuries in Test cricket, has not only made a name for himself on the world stage but has emerged as an iconic figure and one of the most well-known sportsmen throughout all of Asia.
“Chris Gayle is certainly a huge asset to Jamaica, and a central figure in the engagement of Asians, particularly Indians,” Bartlett tells JIS News.
“When you call his name in India it is magic, so whatever important values he brings to this engagement, however it can enhance Jamaica’s presence in that market, that is something we are not about to pass on,” he says.
“I just want to say that Asia is the next frontier for us, and we have already started working in India, and we have an agent in India. We will be calling on Chris, as we know that he is an icon in the cricket space in that beautiful country,” he adds.
The Tourism Minister says that Asia, including the Middle East, is one of the newer markets that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has been pursuing, adding that “we will not be shy about using some of our iconic weapons such as Chris Gayle to assist with our marketing”.
“It is something we have at our disposal… something that few of our competitors have – global stars with huge international followings. Chris Gayle’s venture into music and the fact that Asia is one of his main target markets can only mean great things for our music, culture, and tourism,” the Minister notes.
The Asian market has been growing exponentially and has taken on renewed interest.
The largest continent in the world, with a population of 4.5 billion people, Asia is diversely rich in people, culture, and resources.
Over the last few decades, the Asian economy has seen rapid growth, outpacing many western markets and presenting myriad opportunities for investors to capitalise.
The technological boom, the decline in poverty, and the rise in income levels have made the Asian market attractive.
Bartlett’s endorsement of Gayle comes at a time when the self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ will be a featured act on a compilation album titled ‘The Tropical House Cruises to Jamaica: The Asian Edition’.
The album, which will be promoted heavily in Asia, is set for release on June 24 and features international acts such as R&B singer Jason Derulo, King Tiger, Alistar, Lady Marga MC, Gentleman, Morgan Heritage, Sashi the Don, rapper Redman, and Lauren Hill.
For his part, Gayle, in a recent interview with reporters at the release of his new single ‘Gimme Your Love’, says he is not only thrilled to be making the transition from cricket to music but feels the foray into the Asian market is “a win-win” for both himself and Jamaica.
“I am so excited about the new single and to be featured with these great icons on this equally exciting new album. It is true that I have a name and a huge following in Asia, having done very well in the Indian Premier League over the years. Not only will this album be promoting our music in Asia but will also be pushing the Jamaican brand and which will make it easier to market our tourism product,” he says.
Meanwhile, multi-award-winning producer Sean “Contractor” Edwards, says that Gayle’s association with the album “will guarantee” huge record sales in the Asian marketplace and provide a “major boost” for the local tourism industry.
“The album is targeting the Asian countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia where Chris Gayle is basically idolised as a sports icon. We anticipate a lot more sales from this project than any other album I have released,” Edwards points out.
In addition to Gayle, Australia’s Donald Bradman, India’s Virender Sehwag, and fellow West Indian Brian Lara are the only batsmen in the history of Test cricket to have scored more than two triple centuries.