Cashy carnival

Gov’t predicts $1-B earnings from carnival

BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer senior reporter
henryb@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is of the view that the spend generated by carnival in Jamaica could jump as high as $1 billion in a few years, if the current trend continues.

“We had US$2.3 million in circulation, which is approximately $300 million, when it started earlier this year. We believe we can achieve US$4 million ($500 million) this year. So, we think we can reach US$8 million, or approximately $1 billion in a few years,” he told the Jamaica Observer following the launch of the 2018 carnival season at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel last Thursday.

Bartlett insisted that the growth trend will continue this year, as Jamaica's annual carnival activities continue to grow and attract more international attention under the guidance of his ministry, as well as the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

“Now, we can boast of having a carnival of our own that measures up to any other in the Caribbean. Jamaica's carnival is now a marketable product on the calendar of events that attracts thousands of visitors to our island,” Bartlett said.

He noted that the carnival is a joint effort between the two ministries, and is used as the umbrella brand for all local activities, during the peak tourism period of March 31 to April 18.

Bartlett also pointed out that figures showed that in April of this year when the majority of carnival activities took place, there was a 22.1 per cent increase in visitor arrivals compared to the same period in 2016.

He said that two important objectives to be achieved through the initiative, in relation to visitor arrivals, would be breaking out of the mode of seasonal tourism, which leads to the closing down of some properties during the off season; and meeting the target of five million visitors in five years, pumping US$5 billion into the national economy, an objective which is already ahead of target.

Bartlett said that the Sports and Entertainment (Linkages) Network, chaired by Kamal Bankay, who is also chairman of the National Carnival in Jamaica Stakeholders Committee, has already begun to transform the local carnival experience.

“I can tell you that under this network, there is an even broader effort to enhance and package various local entertainment offerings to attract more visitors to the island,” he stated.

Entertainment minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange, who was joint keynote speaker at the launch, said that carnival 2018 is already being activated, with launches already planned for: Xaymaca International on November 11; Exodus on November 18; Bacchanal in January 2018; and Jamaica Carnival on a date to be announced in 2018.

“We can say with confidence that the upcoming high season will be the biggest ever. The air seats have been assured and the rooms are in place,” Grange beamed.

She stated that the government wants to ensure that when the traditional winter season ends, the hotels can still boast high occupancies and the workers can be assured of continued employment.

She said that launching the carnival at this time, is an integral part of the strategy to achieve those goals.

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