JTB Pushing Sports Tourism


Representatives of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), recently toured cities in Ireland and England, as part of an initiative to promote Jamaica as a sports tourism destination.
West Indies cricket legend and Jamaican sports ambassador, Courtney Walsh, participated in the tour, which included visits to Belfast, Dublin, Birmingham and London.
Minister of Tourism, Ed Bartlett, said that the initiative is to take advantage of the “stellar success of Jamaica’s sporting talent in 2008, plus significant investment in infrastructure and marketing”.
“Jamaica has never been better placed to showcase its sports tourism product,” he stated, noting that, “we have recently enlisted a series of sporting ambassadors to assist us in communicating this message internationally. Courtney Walsh, as one of our greatest sportsmen, can represent Jamaica to an extremely wide audience, and always speaks lovingly of his home country and the fantastic tourism product on offer.”
The touring party took part in a series of cricket appearances and demonstrations at local schools, targeting school masters looking to organise sporting tours to Jamaica. Statistics show that 15,000 to 20,000 students from England and Ireland travel on sporting tours throughout the Commonwealth each year.
The JTB is also seeking to capitalise on the media interest expected to be generated by the English cricket team’s tour of the West Indies in February 2009. Ireland, was also included in the blitz, as there is a strong possibility that the national cricket team will tour Jamaica in 2009, following the success of the team in the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
During the tour, Walsh participated in a session with the cricket charity ‘Chance to Shine,’ which works to re-introduce cricket to state schools. The charity is part of the Cricket Foundation, which receives its budget from the English Cricket Board and the British Government.
This summer, Chance to Shine launched a new initiative called ‘Streetchance’, to encourage more inner-city state schools to play competitive cricket using a fast-paced version of the game called ‘Street 20’, where games last a maximum of 20 legal balls, with all players having the chance to bat, bowl and field.

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