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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Will the lightning Bolt jolt Jamaica tourism?

LONDON, England, Wednesday August 15, 2012 – Usain "Lightning" Bolt's electrifying victories in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay at the recently concluded London Olympics have earned the Jamaican sprint star world acclaim and international celebrity status.

Jamaica’s Tourist Board is now hoping that the double-triple athlete’s living legend aura will boost visitor interest in Bolt's homeland.

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Wykeham McNeill said the success will elevate Bolt to the same status as Bob Marley, not only within the island itself but globally.

"The impact of his sprinting will have an effect on the island for many years to come and will help Jamaica attract more and more sports travel tourists," McNeill said.

"The interest that has already been created by our sprint legends throughout the years has now come to a crescendo with Usain Bolt’s unique defence of the titles.

"If you couple this with the outstanding performance with our other athletes, both men and women, plus the 1-2-3, we are in a unique position to market Jamaica as THE centre of excellence," the minister told

The World’s fastest man is no stranger to marketing his country. He anchored three promotional videos for the tourist board in 2010, and several recent travel stories have focused on Jamaica's northern parish of Trelawny, the area in which the 25-year-old sprinter grew up.

Trelawny, which was also once home to other sprinting greats including Veronica Campbell-Brown and Ben Johnson, has a rural atmosphere as well as attractions including rafting on the Martha Brae River and, in the parish capital, the former slave port of Falmouth.

Bolt’s now famous 7,000-square-foot sports bar, Tracks and Records, a colourful fusion of music and sport, is located in Kingston.

Jamaica isn't the only Caribbean island hoping for an Olympic afterglow that will translate into increased visitor arrivals.

After Grenada's Kirani James won the island's first-ever medal, a gold in the 400-metre dash, the country’s tourism minister George Vincent said James "put Grenada on the map”.

James’ name will also receive international exposure emblazoned on the fuselage of one of LIAT’s aircraft.


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