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‘Carnival In Jamaica’ – Further Diversifying The Tourism Product

‘Carnival In Jamaica’ – Further Diversifying The Tourism Product
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Barlett (right) and Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange (2nd right), shares lens with (from left): Permanent Secretary in the Tourism Ministry, Jennifer Griffith; Kingston’s Mayor, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams; Chief Executive Officer, Xaymaca International, Andrew Bellamy; and Chairman, National Carnival Stakeholders Committee, Kamal Bankay, at the recent launch of ‘Carnival in Jamaica’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
(Media Credit: Mark Bell)

KINGSTON (JIS) -- The Government is partnering with carnival stakeholders to market Jamaica as an entertainment destination. This endeavour aims to enhance brand Jamaica while further boosting the global appeal of carnival, and is being done through collaborations involving several Ministries, investors, developers and organisers of the event. Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who made the announcement during the recent launch of ‘Carnival in Jamaica’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, says this partnership is a part of the Ministry’s overall plan to diversify the country’s hospitality product in order to ensure the sector’s sustainable development. Additionally, he says it is one of the engagements under the Tourism Linkages Network initiative. “It is a confluence of all the other carnival offerings into one massive marquee event. You will see the fusion of the various creative expressions, not as individual units across different parts of the country, but as one mass activity that flows through the city of Kingston,” the Minister adds.

Mr. Bartlett further states that carnival “is not just a social moment” but also “an economic moment… because every tourist that arrives (for the event) brings an important potential of up to 75 different discrete economic activities”.

In this regard, he says there are several economic activities flowing into the planning and staging of the final carnival product that will benefit Jamaica.

“The event is one of those entertainment activities that excite and bring a whole range of different demographics into the destination. We anticipate an increase in the number of Caribbean nationals visiting Jamaica as well as… the overall international visitor arrivals and… spend in the country,” he adds.

Mr. Bartlett says the Ministry, in tandem with ministries of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports; Local Government and Community Development; and National Security, as well as the National Solid Waste Management Authority, is working to enhance marketing the Carnival in Jamaica concept.

He explains that there will be branding at the arrival and departure areas of the Norman Manley International and Sangster International airports in Kingston and Montego Bay, respectively, and throughout the cities to pique the visitors’ interest in the event.

Additionally, Mr. Bartlett says there will be a number of activities taking place across the city of Kingston during the carnival season.

For her part, Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the partnership will facilitate and ensure that carnival is properly and professionally packaged and showcased.

“What we have announced… is only the beginning. You will see the real fruits in a year’s time when we would have completed a programme that would have branded Jamaica Carnival locally and internationally,” she states.

Ms. Grange says the impact from the collaboration will generate significant stakeholder dividends.

“The peanut vendor, the private-sector companies, sponsored bands, the alcoholic beverage companies, the Jamaican costume designers, make-up artists, disc jockeys, as well as persons selling Jamaican foods, will all get a share in the pie,” she contends.

Additionally, the Minister says the event will benefit several other sectors and expose tourists to the unique culture, adding that “it cuts right across political lines, (and) socio-economic backgrounds (as) everyone will be coming together to take part in this event, putting aside their differences”.

Ms. Grange says Carnival in Jamaica will be used as an umbrella brand for all carnival activities during the peak period from April 14 to 24 this year, in order to recognise the initiative as a national product.

Meanwhile, Director of Bacchanal Jamaica, Michael Ammar, says the launch of Carnival in Jamaica is the evolution of the event as one of Jamaica’s main entertainment products.

“What we are trying to do is to bring all four carnival brands that are now in existence – Jamaica Carnival, Bacchanal Jamaica, Exodus and Xaymaca – into an organised product,” he explains.

He says road marches, incorporating more than 30 top-quality entertainment events into one week of activities, will be coordinated for a seamless flow.

“Carnival day has always been one day. But in the past, for years Bacchanal Jamaica was the only brand, until the industry started to grow, and now we are seeing re-emergence of Jamaica Carnival and an introduction of two new brands – Exodus and Xaymaca. This means that the platform is becoming bigger each year,” Mr. Ammar states.

He notes that, culturally, Carnival in Jamaica is an ideal way to professionalise the event and use it to market Kingston as an entertainment city.

“We need to, once and for all, cement Kingston as the entertainment and cultural capital of the Caribbean, and carnival is a great first step in doing that. Kingston has so much potential with the new north coast highway, Ocho Rios is an hour and a half away, so people can come in to many entertainment events (like carnival) in Kingston,” Mr. Ammar contends.

He adds that the economic impact is huge, as “this is normally the time of year (when) little or no entertainment is going on in the island, in terms of the big events”.

“Most of the big events start in summer and go through to Christmas. So carnival has now practically taken over all the resources at this time of the year, creating jobs for several industry players,” Mr. Ammar further states.