Tourism Ministry Targets the Irish

The Tourism Ministry will be targeting the Irish as part of efforts to increase visitor arrivals, with focus placed on promoting events that appeal to the party and sport loving market.
“The Irish are big on supporting events in which they participate so we are now looking into event niche marketing as a specific area to target,” said Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun Ndombet Assamba.
The Minister, who was addressing yesterday’s (Feb. 20) launch of Irish-fest’ at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, noted that market research and intelligence indicated that the Irish market was very viable and could translate into high visitor arrivals to Jamaica.
“We realized that the number of Irish nationals visiting Jamaica rose healthily in 2006, with approximately 33 per cent more tourists from Britain and Ireland making the trip in August last year, compared to the same period in 2005,” she informed.
Irish-fest is a grand fete being staged by the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort on March 17, for the large contingent of Irish cricket fans expected in the island for the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC). The resort, which is located in Ocho Rios, St. Ann will be the home-base of the Irish, who will be supporting their team in the group stage of the tournament.
Managing Director of the hotel, Ian Kerr, explained that the event, which is being sponsored by Guinness, will coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, which is an annual Irish holiday.
“We are encouraging everybody to come out and experience everything that is Irish. Enjoy traditional Irish stew, corn beef and cabbage along with plenty of Guinness,” he invited.
Headlining the entertainment on the day will be a popular Celtic band, the Duffys from the Emerald Isle, and the Ashling Celtic dancers, who will perform their classic river dance routines.
Exclusive evening passes from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. will be available at a cost of US$80. This will include all meals, drinks and a great party. The show will start at 9:30 p.m.
“We hope that this event will benefit all of us in the tourism sector towards developing the Irish market. This is a market that has real potential for the Jamaican tourism industry and we have a great opportunity to showcase the very best of Jamaica to the Irish cricket team and their fans and supporters, and particularly the Irish media,” Mr. Kerr said.
Former West Indies captain, Courtney Walsh, who was on hand to endorse the event, commended Jamaica Grande for coming on board to fete the Irish. He noted that the interest of the Irish in Jamaica was high when he and officials from the Jamaica Local Organizing Committee visited Ireland last year, as part of a publicity blitz.
“The bookings went up so quickly while we were there. The interest was there, they were ready to come.they want to watch a bit of cricket but they want to see the Jamaican culture and experience the Jamaican party,” he pointed out.
In the meantime, there will be several Irish-themed parties in Kingston and Ocho Rios leading up to the big event on March 17. These comprise a March 2 party at the Verandah on Trafalgar Road, followed by another event on March 9 at Up On D’ Roof on Knutsford Boulevard, and then on March 14, a massive party at Margaritaville in Ocho Rios.

JIS Social