By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Minister of Tourism said yesterday that his Ministry has the support of the cruise lines to provide visitors for this year’ss Junkanoo Carnival, adding that the event must go global.
Speaking outside the Cabinet Office, Obie Wilchcombe was unable to place a cost on this year’s event, but said he wants to ensure that it attracts a high level of international visitors this time around.
“There have been discussions about Carnival. I can’t say how much it’s going to cost now because I don’t have all the details. I’m sure there will be discussion (today) because the time is a factor and we have to move to cause things to happen,” said Mr Wilchcombe.
“I’m concerned because I’m responsible for tourism. I’m concerned that we get the numbers we want for visitors this year for Carnival, and so we’re working with the cruise lines. We had a meeting with the cruise lines and they have indicated their support for what we want to do.
“We want to create an atmosphere where carnival is seen as a season, not carnival an event. We want to make sure that people get a taste of our culture. As I have said before, I want to see more Junkanoo, more Bahamians involved, ensure that the entertainers are properly utilised, and it has to be an event that goes global.”
Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival organisers said earlier this week that a more “focused” approach has been taken to marketing this year’s event.
Junkanoo Carnival will take place on May 5-7 in New Providence, with a kick-off event from April 15-16 in Grand Bahama. Last year’s festival attracted about 115,000 spectators or participants, employed 7,208 people and benefited 880 small and medium enterprises.