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Wilchcombe: Carnival Did Not Attract As Many As Expected

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said now that the seeds have been planted for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival to grow and become a premier cultural festival, the opening of Baha Mar and other hotels are critical if they expect to have more visitors come for the event.

There needs to be more room inventory in New Providence and Grand Bahama, he said during a recent interview. And while the inaugural event did not attract as much additional visitors as expected, Mr Wilchcombe said he was very pleased that more people from outside of the Bahamas, such as the diaspora, came for carnival.

“It is critical that we have more inventory because even if we had the visitors coming, the problem is that we will not have hotel rooms; we have to get Baha Mar and other hotels in New Providence open.”

There have been several opening delays for the $3.5bn Baha Mar Resort, which was initially scheduled to open last December. A forecasted opening in early May was not met.

Meanwhile, Mr Wilchcombe said the Ministry of Tourism will be doing a lot more marketing for next year’s festival.

“We had lots (of visitors) from Atlanta, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and other parts of the diaspora,” he said.

“The critical thing is that we did not have Junkanoo Carnival before. Well, it happened and the first step has been made now knowing you planted the seed and it is going to grow; and that is what we did, we planted the seed. I think the success of it will cause it to grow quickly,” he said.

The government budgeted $9m to launch the event, and Bahamians turned out in large numbers in Freeport on April 16-17 and in Nassau on May 7-9. The event featured the Music Masters Competition, an All-star Bahamian concert, the Road Fever parade and a Junkanoo rush out.

With carnival now established, Minister Wilchcombe said the ministry is assessing the marketing strategy and online promotion.

“We are doing inventory now and we recognised that on Google, and the Internet we had more than 17 million preliminary number unique expressions, whether on Google and Facebook, etc,” he said.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

Before you go spending money on advertising, please make sure you can PAY PEOPLE ON TIME. Everybody jumping up and down about what a great success it was and you haven't paid anybody. What is that?

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

Comrades hear me out cuz I'm in pain. Unfortunately, for the small mom’s and pop’s who bought into the grand promises now being seen by many as supported by absolutely no more than spreading "misinformation and sensationalism," it’s quickly becoming heart-wrenching to now learn how so many small entrepreneurs were hoodwinked jump in da line to not miss-out on their chances reap Carnival 2015’s instant profits awaiting them. Even when they had to have known it was not like the potential vendors they were trying to reach, had the ready cash on hand to risk? What a way for a cabinet of government to spend 9.5 million dollars breaks the enterprising confidence levels of ordinary citizens, who may be forever detoured from ever again trying their hands at free enterprise. How sad a state of cabinet affairs, when they must have known people would be taking their light bills monies to invest in Carnival 2015, thinking they would gain even more lights bill monies pay BEC, from cash receipts over Carnival 2015 weekend? It's should be a pretty sad day in hearts all PLP's sitting around "people's" cabinet table. The same people who preparing carryout a repossession order, on all them powerful cabinet seats?

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duppyVAT 4 years, 3 months ago

What do we expect Obie to say??????????? ............... that it was a failure????????????

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Cobalt 4 years, 3 months ago

In an odd way I truly sympathize with Obie Wilchcombe.

As minister of tourism I understand that he's attempting to boost our tourism market. But the underlying problem still remains the same........ There are too many critical issues stifling our country that our government has proven powerless and unwilling to solve.

The tourism market will not thrive in the midst of this current crime crisis. BEC is still unable to sustain a dependable electrical grid. And the cost of living in the Bahamas is simply not competitive enough to lure significant investment. The Bahamas is currently a rudderless, powerless ship floating adrift being led by an incompetent, hapless captain and crew.

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

Comrade "Bleeding Heart for Obediah" Cobalt, why not start a social club to meet regularly - cuz this will be not be the last time Obediah will welcome some your clubs sympathy. Indeed it will be a small, rare meeting of old-fashioned Cobalt's bleeding hearts - Bahamalander style.

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