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Festival Place Transforms To Attract Trade

THE change of scenery has been good for vendors at Festival Place as more tourists seem to be interested in doing impulse buying, according to Director of Maritime Tourism Janet Johnson.

The vendors were previously moved to Prince George Wharf to accommodate construction at the popular tourist attraction. But after a recent uproar from vendors, they were relocated to the courtyard at Festival Place and tourists treated to a taste of Junkanoo as a further attraction.

Ms Johnson said it’s just one of the ways entertainment would be enhanced in the area. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the vendors to interact with the passengers as they are coming and leaving. That way they can take a look at what is here before they go out shopping,” she said.

“We’ve enhanced our entertainment offerings. You can hear junkanoo and then about five minutes after you can hear the band. So there is entertainment all the time. We want this to be a hive of activity. We want people to feel that it is very high energy and it’s fun and they can come and enjoy themselves.”

The director says both visitors and cruise executives are pleased with the changes. “One came in and congratulated us. I know they were very sceptical at first and I have had many conference calls with them trying to assure them that we knew what we were doing. They are very pleased with how the land and sea tours are being executed. The buses are being filled without any mishap and they are getting to their tours on time and also the visitors are able to come into the square and get back to the ship quite easily,” Ms Johnson said.

“It’s been a smooth transition and everyone is getting comfortable. I know we had some glitches in the beginning but people are becoming very comfortable.”

Ms Johnson said since the move, Bahamians have shown more interest in becoming vendors at Festival Place. She added that when Festival Place is completed, it would continue to flourish.

“Festival Place will become just that,” Ms. Johnson said. “You are going to see more entertainment and it will be a place where we hope Bahamians would want to gather to see concerts to participate and to support the authentically Bahamian vendors here on property.”

When completed, Festival Place will hold a food court, a junkanoo exhibit and expand the facility further west to accommodate more vendors. There are currently 38 vendors stationed at Festival Place’s courtyard.

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