St Lucia’s 2019 edition of its Summer Festivals will be launched in T&T on May 24, 2019, says marketing manager for Caribbean and Events at the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Christopher Gustave.
Gustave made the announcement at the Habour Club Media Center ay Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, during the official launch of the authority’s new website - Caribcation.org. The website, which caters to the Caribbean market, is dedicated to providing Caribbean visitors with the most authentic Saint Lucian experience, Gustave said.
He explained that Caribcation was an initiative started in 2017 with the aim of creating a number of “Saint Lucia brand” calendar events to attract more Caribbean visitors to the island. However, he said the initiative quickly grew into a standalone brand in just one year, reflecting a five per cent increase in tourist arrivals over the inaugural year.
The Authority boasted that the brand now has over 14,000 Facebook followers, 2,252 Instagram likes and 1776 followers.
“Caribcation offers the Caribbean visitor a platform to where accommodation packages of up to 65 per cent off can be booked year round,” said Gustave.
He said the Summer Festival offers several attractions, including Saint Lucia’s Carnival, which begins next month and concludes in July, followed by its ultimate beach party-Mercury Fest from July 20-21.
Asked why T&T was the chosen as the location for the upcoming launch, Gustave said T&T was Saint Lucia’s second biggest market with 20,000 annual arrivals, while Martinique was its first with 32,000 visitors per year.
The launch is scheduled to take place at One Woodbrook Place, Port-of-Spain and will focus on all things Saint Lucia, including highlights of this year’s Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, Carnival, Mercury Fest and destination updates, among other key areas.
Media from various countries, including T&T, are currently in Saint Lucia covering its annual Jazz Festival, which has a few changes this year, having moved from its traditional venue at Pigeon Island, Gros Islet, in the northern region, to various venues across the island. Not only has the location changed, but also the musical presentation has moved from one extreme to the other, doing away with the music festival- type approach and returning to authentic jazz.
Both the alterations are not sitting too well with some Saint Lucians though. Some of them told Guardian Media the change in venue and performers had caused a decline in business for them. Taxi drivers, in particular, say business has been very slow in comparison to years gone by.
However, in a previous interview, the authority justified its decision, saying the sole purpose was to restore real jazz to the festival and to give patrons of the festival brand options and the chance to experience various parts of the island during this peak time. The venues are now spread out and staged in more intimate spaces.
The overhaul was done in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, which teamed up with the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival for the first time this year.
In an interview with Guardian Media, Jason Olaine, director of programming and touring at the Lincoln Center, said the relationship between the authority and Lincoln Center was forged after a line up at the Jazz Festival last year was titled after his organisation.
Olaine said he was happy to partner with the Authority in its quest to return authentic jazz to the festival. He said they have also worked with the authority to host workshops with various jazz greats like Gregory Porter and T&T’s very own Etienne Charles.
Another product of this collaboration was the first ever Jazz Cruise which took place on May 8 aboard The Pearl. The three-and-a-half hour cruise was well attended and offered an evening of live organic jazz and cuisine. That event featured local sensation Rob Zii and Phyness, Russell Hall and his band featuring South African jazz vocalist Vuyo Satashe and tap dancer Michela Marino Lerman.