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October 4, 2007: Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Creates Market for Berkshire County, MA Tourism through Twinning Lanesborough, MA with Lanesborough, Ireland. The Irish are Coming!

Lanesborough, MA – October 4, 2007 –
Asked about the effects on tourism of creating sister city/sister town ties, radio show travel expert Stephanie Abrams, host of the nationally syndicated radio shows Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams, Traveling Feet and the television show JetSet411, remarks, “I have listened to people say that you cannot create market; you have to divert market from other places. While it is possible to steal market-share, when you create market you own it because it is unique to you.” Abrams explains that the exercise of creating the sister towns relationship between the two Lanesboroughs, one in Berkshire County, Massachusetts and the other in County Longford, Ireland, is an object lesson in how to bring in tourism by creating a new market.

“You can't go to Maine or Pennsylvania as a trip choice if you want to meet the people and learn about the community you are linked to so there is no chance to lose your unique market to another destination that is aggressively targeting travelers who choose Massachusetts! While this group is relatively small, its potential growth is huge. This little group is creating 60 room nights in Berkshire County plus other economic benefits,” Abrams states. “If every town in the county, in Massachusetts, for that matter, created a sister town relationship with a place with which they find synergy, the number of incoming visitors would rise exponentially!” Abrams indicates “that's just one example of how to create new markets!”

The first group of residents of Lanesborough, County Longford, Ireland, is expected to arrive in Berkshire County on October 9, 2007, as the result of the Sister Town relationship between that Irish community and its Massachusetts namesake. The official signing of a proclamation creating the relationship took place first in Lanesborough Town Hall in Berkshire County in July 2006. The document was hand carried to Lanesborough, Ireland by Abrams where it was countersigned at their town hall on August 31, 2006.

“It is so exciting to receive these wonderful people in Berkshire County,” Stephanie Abrams states. “We share more than just a common name.” The derivation of the names of both Lanesboroughs comes from the Lane family. The Governor of Massachusetts, William Shirley, a good friend of the Count of Lanesborough, founded Lanesborough, MA in 1741, naming it after his friend's wife, the Countess, known by her friends as, ‘Lovely' Lanesborough. The Berkshire town of Lanesborough lives up to that expectation, Abrams notes.

Among the 17 expected visitors are: Peggy Nolan, Mayor of Longford, John Kelly, Mayor of Roscommon, Adie Farrell, Sean Farrell and Fabian Walsh who are all members of their Local Council. Additionally, two Bostonians and a sheriff from Worcester, Massachusetts, all former residents of Lanesborough, Ireland, are planning to visit Berkshire County to participate in the events.

Included in the sightseeing program is a visit to Lanesborough Elementary school, a walking tour of the town's historic sites led by Jeff Dechaine, a member of the Lanesborough, MA historical committee and local fire fighter, and visits to important sites in Berkshire County including the Norman Rockwell Museum, Chesterwood, the home of Daniel Chester French, sculptor responsible for the sitting Lincoln in the chair in the Lincoln Memorial, the Natural Marble Bridge, at which local North Adams historian, Paul Marino, will provide insights and explanations, and a tour of Williamstown. A highlight on their itinerary is a visit to the Lenox gallery of world renowned bronze sculptor Andrew DeVries who has twice visited Lanesborough, Ireland since he learned of the twinning of the towns. DeVries reciprocated on behalf of Lanesborough, MA who received a bog oak sculpture carved from Irish bog wood by well known Irish artist Michael Casey, brother of expected visitor John Casey, that is carbon dated to over 5000 years old from their Irish counterpart by presenting one of his bronze works of art titled, “Shaker Angel” to the Irish community on his 2006 trip to Ireland. He has recently returned from a trip to Ireland which included his second visit to the townspeople of Lanesboro. “Clearly, this project has already created tourism in both directions,” Abrams notes.

“We fully expect that friendships will forge and bonds will be made that will create the first steps of building a bridge of people creating a two-way flow of cultural experiences for the youngest to the oldest of both communities. There is a special electricity and aura around these impending events with the townspeople of Lanesborough, MA participating by contributing their skills, talents, knowledge and time to maximize the experience for the visitors and creating opportunities for our townspeople to get to know them,” Abrams explains. “I have an active and caring team committed to making this event memorable for all who participate. And we are already focusing on how we continue the relationships we will establish with their town and with the individuals who are coming here as well as starting plans to reciprocate by visiting them in Ireland!” Abrams notes. “Committees are already forming to focus on fostering special interests across the ocean.”

Abrams says that she suspects that the enthusiasm generated by the experiences of the first wave of visitors to Western Massachusetts from Lanesborough, Ireland, will result in Berkshire County seeing an influx of guests from Ireland, a destination where the value of the euro makes luxury and upscale accommodations quite affordable for the inbound visitor. And with active committees of people on both sides of the ocean perpetuating reasons for cultural exchanges and tourism events, the validity of the concept of creating market, particularly through sister town and sister city programs, is noteworthy.

“I am hoping,” Abrams indicates, “that more attention is paid, by destinations interested in increasing their incoming tourism, to creating new markets. I am excited about this incubator project especially because I have listened to people scoff at the concept of creating market and who only focus on trying to attract market share away from other destinations. When you get down to it,” Abrams states, “whether you have beautiful beaches, gorgeous mountains, endless seashores or a metropolis with fabulous shopping, theatres and concert halls, there are other destinations in the world who have the same, more or better than you. It is possible to focus on creating events and on-going connections to special interests that will bring visitors to you and only you because of something that no other destination can give them. When you form personal relationships, the only place they can see you is where you live or work and that is a fundamental and key factor that most companies and organizations ignore. For me, the answer lies in focusing on the interests of the people where you are and the interests of those you want to attract with special emphasis on the power of developing interconnecting, personal relationships. Package that, and give it to them and they will come!” Abrams concludes.

Photos of Lanesborough, Ireland and information on events and festivities planned for the Irish visitors can be found at Abrams' award-winning website,

Related Links:

Irish Travel Itinerary: The Irish are Coming!
Click here to view the itinerary the Irish followed.

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