Barbados is seeking to capitalise on the enormous exposure generated for the destination, coinciding with the 2003 Crop Over Festival. Stories and images of the islandå‘s biggest festival are being disseminated far and wide by close to 100 international media professionals, many of whom were covering the event for the first time.
These media professionals - representing television, radio, magazines, video production companies, internet broadcasters and newspapers - were drawn mainly from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and such Caribbean territories as Trinidad, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Martinique.
Over the years, media personnel from the major tourist markets of North America, Europe and the Caribbean have been important partners for Barbados in helping to market the island’s tourism product and this year has been no different. Working in close co-operation with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) has maintained a strong publicity program for Crop Over and the sponsoring of international media to cover this world class event represents a single element of the program.
Leading up to the festival, several focused promotional efforts were undertaken in Europe, North America and across the Caribbean. They included television and radio shows in North America, as well as private functions for key media and top producing travel agents to allow them to sell Crop Over to their audiences.
Most of the foreign media representatives were on the island for the last five days of the festival and apart from attending the major events associated with Barbados’ brand of carnival, they also attended a joint news conference hosted by the BTA and the NCF at the Grand Barbados hotel.
Several questions about Barbados and its cultural products were raised and answered by BTA representatives - President Oliver Jordan, Senior Vice- President Stetson Babb and Corporate Communications Director Averil Byer - and new NCF Chief Executive Ian Estwick. In underscoring the significance of the festival, the BTA president told media partners that every year the festival generated great anticipation and, like fine wine, it was getting better and better with age.
“The BTA has worked hand in hand with the NCF to internationally promote the festival to boost visitor arrivals in the summer and give visitors the opportunity to be part of this Barbadian tradition. We have seen the festival live up to its potential and the months of July and early August rival and even surpass the winter months in terms of visitor arrivals,” said Mr. Jordan.
The BTA president further explained that the Crop Over calendar was designed to appeal to a variety of interests and encourage wide participation.
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