Air Jamaica`s recent staging of the Islands in the Park promotion is critical to the marketing of the region as a tourism destination, say two top Caribbean media officials.
Attending for the first time, Olivia Scott, Business Editor of the Caymanian Compass, described the Brooklyn festival as an “ingenious promotion” for the region. “While destinations spend millions (of dollars) each year on brochures, television and radio ads, there`s truly nothing like getting a real taste of the Caribbean to entice people to visit.”
Scott, who is president of the Caribbean Media Organisation on Sustainable Tourism (CMOST), noted that “when 30,000 people fill a park in a major US city like New York to jump to Caribbean music, taste Caribbean food, and buy Caribbean wares, you can bet they will be booking their flight to one of the islands sooner rather than later.” She added, “live, interactive advertising campaigns like Islands in the Park are vital to the promotion of our region in today`s global tourism and economic climate, particularly in a time when the Caribbean is aggressively competing with the rest of the world for airline and hotel bookings.”
Ernie Seon, a seasoned news correspondent with the Caribbean Media Corporation in St. Lucia, said he was heartened to see generations of St. Lucians and other Caribbean people being integrated through culture and cuisine, in a fun-filled family environment. “From a marketing point of view, this niche market is loaded with potential and is waiting to be tapped,” he concluded.
Both Scott and Seon are regular participants at the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), a biannual media conference which enhances flows of information to strengthen Caribbean tourism policy and increase understanding of the multi-sectoral value of sustainable tourism.
Air Jamaica`s fifth annual Islands in the Park, held in Brooklyn`s Prospect Park on Father`s Day (Sunday, June 15, 2003), attracted thousands of Caribbean islanders and American mainlanders, featuring some of the region`s finest musicians and artisans along with tastebud-teasing Caribbean cuisine. Entertainers included veteran Jamaican balladeer Ken Boothe, Fab Five from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago`s Traffik and Iwer George; Adrian Clarke from Barbados, King Ajamu from Grenada, St Lucia`s Gillo and his island nation`s True Tones Band; and “Notch” from the Cayman Islands.
Air Jamaica officials say the free annual festival has grown into a major New York City calendar event which gives celebrators a chance to find out about special travel packages to the Caribbean at the numerous travel booths on display. Caribbean travel also came into focus on Monday, June 16, 2003 when Air Jamaica hosted a special travel trade exposition for travel agents and tour operators at El Caribe in Brooklyn.
Related Stories On Caribbean Weekly
(30/04/03) CMEx Moves to Montego Bay
(09/05/03) `Cruise Junkie` to Speak at CMEx