By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival organisers yesterday said a more “focused” approach has been taken to marketing this year’s event, with organisers working closely with the Ministry of Tourism to expand its global reach and partnerships with travel companies such as Expedia.
Roscoe Dames, the Bahamas National Festival Commission’s (BNFC) chief executive, said a three-pronged marketing strategy will be used to promote the event to local, international and Caribbean visitors.
This year’s event is set to be launched on Saturday, March 5. “Last year we did our launch in a hotel. This year we are having our launch at the Cultural Village, because we want persons to come out and get familiar with the Cultural Village leading up to the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival kick-off. Twenty-three of the Road Fever bands will be out displaying their costumes ,which will be available for sale,” said Mr Dames.
Junkanoo Carnival will take place on May 5-7 in New Providence, with a kick-off event on April 15-16 in Grand Bahama.
“The strategy for marketing is obviously focused. There are parts to Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, culture, music and the Road Fever,” said Mr Dames.
“We are very strategic in our approach this year. On the international marketing side we are working very closely with the Ministry of Tourism, which has reach in a number of areas.”
The Ministry of Tourism launched its 2016 Junkanoo Carnival marketing campaign in Washington D.C. over the weekend, showcasing the anticipated event to thousands at the Travel Adventure Show.
“This project is local as well as tourist-driven event. We are spreading the word through strategic partners that we have forged partnerships with the likes of Expedia, which is working to drive business to the event in addition to other partners that the Ministry of Tourism works closely with,” Mr Dames said.
“We also have a local campaign that will kick off very shortly in conjunction with our launch on March 5.”
Last year’s festival attracted about 115,000 spectators or participants, employed 7,208 people and benefited 880 small and medium-sized enterprises, according to a report by the BNFC.
Organisers, though, were criticised for poor planning, not enough international marketing and not announcing a headliner for the festival’s concert sooner.
The Government budgeted $9 million for the inaugural Junkanoo Carnival, but that spending ballooned to $11.3 million. It is unclear how much has been budgeted for this year’s event.