Crop Over - Barbados’ biggest and best known festival is in full swing and warming towards it’s major climax on Kadooment Day. This year, Barbados’ brand of carnival is expected to attract thousands of visitors, from the Caribbean and the major markets of North America and Europe, to join locals in a range of activities.
The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) have teamed to promote Barbados and its cultural products in the major markets and there are expectations for a great season in 2003. In efforts to maximize revenues from the tourism industry, festivals have sprung up all over the world as destinations seek to diversify their products.
Barbados, like almost every other tourist destination, spends much time, energy and monetary resources in promoting its cultural products in the marketplace to generate greater business.
“Festivals make a significant contribution to the national economy, something that we often fail to remember. We lose sight of that fact and rather than putting their sustainability at risk, we should be doing everything in our power to avoid jeopardizing their success,“said Senator John Williams.
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Williams made these pertinent comments as he delivered the feature address at the Barbados National Bank Opening Gala for the 2003 Crop Over season at Queen’s Park on July 12.
He also said that Government was committed to the development of the festival and the “creative economy” which includes music production and other works of art.
Back in 1974, it was the Barbados Tourist Board, the forerunner to the BTA, that played a lead role in the revival of the Crop Over Festival as local tourism planners were conscious of the importance of cultural tourism as a major vehicle in attracting visitors to the destination.
They had recognised from early that the pull of sun, sand and sea was not as strong as in the past and holiday makers were increasingly curious and sought to experience the destination’s social and cultural life.
After that resuscitation, arrivals in July and August grew significantly and soon surpassed the December-January period which in previous years was the leading months for arrivals.
The BTA, in close collaboration with the NCF, has maintained a strong publicity program for Crop Over and in recent years it has become normal for close to 100 international media personnel to visit the island to cover what is now a world class event.
Along with Barbadians living in North America, and Europe, particularly Britain, these media professionals are some of Crop Over’s most enthusiastic ambassadors. Since last year, focused Crop Over promotional efforts have taken place in Canada, the United States, Britain and several Caribbean territories and response was encouraging.
Several avenues were used to promote the island’s premier cultural event. They include television and radio shows in North America, as well as private functions for key media and top producing travel agents so that they could sell Crop Over to their audiences. Press releases are also issued to the travel trade and the consumer press.
Barbadians living overseas play a significant role in promoting the festival and the contribution of such organizations as the National Association of Barbados Organizations, USA Inc. (NABO) cannot be overlooked.
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