Punxsutawney is a sleepy little town that I would pass through at least twice a year in accompanying my daughters to their camp site in western Pennsylvania.
The quiet of the town on most days than February 2 is deceptively simple, but provides a powerful marketing magnet for the entrepreneural-minded.
Groundhog day is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of weather lore. It goes like this. If the groundhog sees no shadow, he will leave his burrow, which is a sign of an early Spring. If he does not see his shadow, alas 6 more weeks of dreaded winter.
Well these folks in little Puxsutawney has leveraged this tradition of February into a economic bonanza. They get global press, sell stuffed animals, have a museum, sell special burgers, and maintian a groundhog club with officers and all. There is even a lottery spin-off the groundhog in Pennsylvania.
You know they have gained success when they have attracted the attention of PETA, the animal advocacy group. PETA was trying to disrupt this fine tradition and encourage the club to adopt an electronic Phil instead of the real deal. Well, the club told PETA to get stuffed to put it politely.
As Jamaicans, we look for special opportunities and seize the day. This is one to my knowledge we have not explored as yet. Here is my thinking on the idea.
Suppose the Jamaican Tourist board:
- Establish sister city relationship with Pauxsutawney.
- Offer the mayor of Punxsutawney a week-end visit to Jamaica.
- Develop our own, Phil, a mongoose (dressed in a bikini. let me take that back, not pc).
- The Jamaican Phil would declare endless Summer in Jamaica and invite the Pa Phil to come on down!
- We could thus transform the mongoose from a nuisance to a tourist icon.
- We would have a new tourist asset to brand Jamaica and differentiate it from its competitors.