Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 10, 2016 (SKNIS): With St. Kitts and Nevis Music Festival just around the corner, Allister Williams, Executive Director, who appeared on the radio Television programme "Working for You," reflected on the positive impact that is derived from the festival both on the citizens and the economy.
Mr. Williams said that the project was started in 1996 to expand the tourism season which is usually slow in June and attracts a larger audience with the wide variety of music genres. As a result, there were increase in air travel to the island and an increase in hotel occupancy.
The Executive Director said that in terms of hotel occupancy, at the time prior to the festival, various hotels revealed there was a decline around the month of June. Mr. Williams said that the festival was able to help persons keep their jobs around the slow period. He said that the increase in hotel occupancy around the festival can also be tied into the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL) cricket tournament, which follows immediately after the music festival. Also, following the festival is Restaurant Week and Culturama in Nevis, which both begin in July. Mr. Williams said that these events create benefits to all aspects of tourism, including the hotel industry.
Faron Lawrence, Chairman of the Music Festival Committee, who also appeared on the show, said that the festival also contributes to the economic development of the country as foreign programme revenue is brought in when visitors spend, whether it be on products from small shops in the community, drink and food booths set up in the festival area, to the taxies that transport not only the artists but visitors. Restaurants and caterers also benefit from the festival.
Job creation was also mentioned as a positive outcomes of holding the festival. Executive Director Williams said that three security firms, two cleaning companies, 10 ticket sellers, 10 transportation providers, which includes taxies and tour operators, 40 gatekeepers, 25 production technicians and backstage security officers are all employed during the festival.
Exposing the country via foreign media is another positive derived from the festival, said Mr. Lawrence.
"The idea was to have high end artists that journalists follow," said Mr. Lawrence. "So when you bring, for example, Cool and the Gang or Lionel Richie, there are entertainment journalists who follow the artists. When they come to St. Kitts, they are not just there to shoot the artists, they are going to take in our island, and they are going to interact with our people and visit some of our sites. The idea is that when they return to their respective countries that they not only write about the artists but the destination.
He stated that there are a number of international magazines and publications where St. Kitts is featured. He said that recently there was a publication online that listed the top music festivals in the world, St. Kitts Music Festival being one of them, coming in at number six.
The festival also provides local artists with an avenue to gain exposure to their music and talents. Mr. Lawrence said that a number of local artists were even able to travel regionally and internationally to perform.
Executive Director Williams said that since the inception of the festival "we have not looked back since and we have done quite a tremendous job in making sure that the event was sustainable and the destination well marketed in the process."