Despite tough global pressure in 2003, visitor numbers to St Lucia Jazz exceeded expectation with robust arrival figures, particularly from the UK, contributing to another successful year for this renowned annual music festival.
The total number of individuals coming specifically for Jazz registered at 12,164 which is an overall increase of 8.6% in 2003. UK patrons accounted for 20% of the Jazz arrivals, with actual figures of 2,446 compared to 2,002 in the previous year, an increase of 18%. Caribbean arrivals lead the pack at 35% (approx 4,198 patrons) with USA arrivals making up 33% of jazz arrivals.
At this year’s festival patrons spent £10,557,726 (including accommodation, meals and drinks, taxi/transportation, tours, jazz tickets and merchandise, entertainment, crafts & duty-free shopping) which is an increase of over £2 million on the previous year. Whilst occupancy figures for the hotel sector fulfilled projections of approximately 80%.
According to Hilary Modeste, Director of the St Lucia Tourist Board. “St Lucia Jazz was conceived as a marketing tool for the island, the aim of which, was to promote St Lucia to a wider market internationally. As such, St Lucia Jazz has more than achieved its purpose; it has exceeded the expectations of all involved in its planning and execution. A significant number of people who come to St Lucia (18%) hear about the island through St Lucia Jazz.”
Against the stunning backdrop of palm trees, sparkling seas and rolling hills the main stage at Pigeon island saw performances from Earth, Wind and Fire, Boyz II Men, Incognito, Ashford & Simpson and Yolanda Adams. With Jazz legends Michael Brecker, Nnenna Freelon and Cyrus Chestnut gracing the more intimate setting of the Gaiety theatre for a series of world class concerts.
Plans are underway for 2004 and with St Lucia Jazz entering its 13th year it’s doubtful this number will prove unlucky for the Caribbean’s biggest Jazz music event.
Related story on Caribbean Weekly:
(07/01/03) Jazz Is In The Air In St Lucia After Live Launch