By Ben Kilbey
The Hon. Ricky Skerritt minister of tourism, culture and sports, St. Kitts, indicated that the recent Ninth Annual St. Kitts Music Festival was a success for the island nation and brought worldwide publicity for the Caribbean country yet that there is still work to do to improve the product.
Talking to Caribbean Travel News Hon. Skerritt suggested that the festival had been implemented for three key objectives those being to extend the tourism season, promote the island abroad and to expose local artists. Mr. Skerritt insisted that the music festival ‘met all of the three objectives this year.’
He spoke of the festival being ‘taken up a notch’ and of the endorsement Wyclef Jean gave for the island which money cannot buy.
“The way I understand it is that Wyclef was at BET (Black Entertainment Televsion) Awards in California and whilst on stage he talked of recently being on the wonderful Caribbean island of St. Kitts and said to anybody that had not been there that it is a place they really should visit. You simply cannot buy this kind of endorsement”, voiced the minister.
This year saw the first time that ticket sales were also promoted on the Internet. Although the success gained from this initiative was relatively small (some 50 tickets were sold in total) this was greatly down to a lack of publicity for the new method of purchase.
“We only started advertising the fact 2, maybe 3, months ago. Although there was marginal success with some 50 complete transactions this is clearly a start and the system has potential. What was interesting was where the tickets were being purchased, some in the UK the U.S.A and Canada. This indicates the potential for future online sales,” said Hon. Skerritt.
There was no indication of who will be playing in the 10th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival in 2006.