OPTIMISTIC ISKA President, Cory Schafer, who believes Jamaica could host up to 4,000 visitors staying up to two weeks on the island for the event and holidays after, stopped at the colourful booth to express his optimism based on the good reviews from the 2014 World Cup in Montego Bay. “It’s not a theme-park experience like the US Open, which is held in Disney, making it extremely attractive to children and parents alike. However, for martial arts tournaments, the majority of the competitors are children travelling with parents. In that regard, Montego Bay is a beautiful place to go to a tournament and spend the next week,” he said. Gavin Stewart, a member of the organising committee who also worked on the 2014 ITF World Cup, said pamphlets displaying Jamaican attractions were fast movers. “A lot of interest has been shown, especially from persons already registered and coming from the United States,” he explained. “They are really interested in activities post-tournament and grabbing brochures about tours to Kingston and the different attractions in the Montego Bay area,” Stewart pointed out. Stewart and his team were busy attending to interest being shown by South Africans and Australians, most of whom have already registered, booked flights and enquired about accommodation at the tournament’s partner hotel, the Holiday Inn. “There is Team Trinidad as well, plus England and Germany are in dialogue to finalise their participation. However, the Europeans, from the 2014 World Cup experience, tend to register late, so we are expecting major registrations at the end of July,” Stewart explained. Apart from winning 41 medals – 12 gold, nine silver and 20 bronze – at this year’s International Sport Karate and Kickboxing Association (ISKA) United States Open World Martial Arts Championships in Orlando, Florida, Jamaica was also a big hit off the mat, showcasing one of the most-visited promotional booths at the Coronado Resort. Decorated with the unmistakable green, gold and black of Jamaican flags, the booth promoting ISKA’s Amateur Members Association World Championships, set for the Montego Bay Convention Centre from September 13-15, drew more interest from spectators and competitors than that of a major retailer of martial arts equipment, set-up at the opposite end of the competition hall. Jason McKay, Jamaica’s ISKA representative and promoter of the event, said Jamaica’s booths never fail to pull crowds, pointing to the booth that was set up in Benidorm, Spain, at the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Championship in 2013 promoting the World Cup a year later in Jamaica. “It’s always huge, a perfect promotional vehicle for our tournament and to also promote Jamaica at the same time. It created exposure for the product and had a significant [appeal] to push the ITF World Cup, primarily participation from Europe,” he said.