Barbados’ premier Crop Over festival is in line for a significant boost in visitor participation.
This is being made possible through a major familiarization programme – the Spirit of Barbados Mega Fam 2019, as officials announced on Friday that few changes were being considered to help make the highly anticipated celebration even more attractive.
Under the Spirit of Barbados Mega Fam initiative, 200 travel advisors and travel agents from key US cities have gathered in Barbados for five days to get a first-hand experience of the destination’s offerings including its culinary delights, culture, accommodations, attractions and activities.
This, organisers say, would help them to better promote and sell the destination to their existing and potential clients.
During a marketplace seminar at the Hilton Resort on Friday, the travel advisors received a wealth of information on the island’s annual Crop Over festival, which is held over a six-week period, culminating on the first Monday in August with the Grand Kadooment ‘jump up’.
Officials said the Mega Fam was just one part of the work being done to boost visitor numbers from the US market to the island’s Crop Over festival for 2020 and beyond.
Giving an overview of the festival, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Carol Roberts told the Mega Fam participants that it was Government’s intention to increase the festival’s contribution of between US$80 million and US$100 million to the economy each year.
Opting not to give details, Roberts said: “We are in the process at the foundation, of engaging in a new study to look at the economic contribution of the festival.”
She said Government spends on average about US$3 million each year on the preparation of the festival.
As the island gets ready for the planned Vision 2020 year of activities, Roberts also revealed that “long before” Crop Over 2019 culminated, she has been engaging a number of stakeholders to look at what we need “to tweak” the festival.
“Like any product every once in a while you need to be shouting ‘it’s new and improved’, and that is what we have started in a limited way this year and we are moving full steam ahead next year when we have a special national promotion of Vision 2020, where we are inviting Barbadians from wherever they are, and others, to come and see what Barbados has to offer. At the moment we can’t give any great details,” said Roberts, as she sought to whet the appetites of the Mega Fam participants.
Meanwhile, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Johnathan Reid said officials were currently in the process of examining the possibility of including more activities on the calendar of events, whether adventure tourism or business events similar to Mega Fam, to create more “pull factor” for you all.
“One of the things we are looking to as we go towards 2020 is the idea of developing a new events calendar for the year. We recognize that there are certain periods that have a hype of activity, the typical winter period and of course it gets very active and busy during the Crop Over. So there are specific pockets where it is beautiful, like June for instance, with arrivals alone. So can we create something significant in that period to have you all do some more selling?” he said. [email protected]