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Thursday 18 January 2018
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Festivals Commission to manage Tobago Jazz

Management of the Tobago Jazz Experience will now go to the Festivals Commission which will be tasked with improving governance, budgeting and sourcing staff for the event.

And the Commission’s actions will be closely monitored and assessed based on its ability to boost ticket sales and other sources of earned income; expand and widen corporate sponsorship; manage production expenses; and enhance the marketing and branding of the event and the destination.

This was one of the recommendations of the Evaluation and Strategic Task Force which was commissioned to assess the TJE and which the Tourism Division, in a release, said will go into effect for 2018 and “the team will immediately begin working on plans for TJE 2019.”

Led by Dr Keith Nurse, the Task Force was mandated to review the annual event and prepare comprehensive recommendations for the sustainable enhancement of the festival. The team carried out extensive research and liaised with key stakeholders in both the public and private sector to ascertain the most effective way forward, the Tourism Division said.

The release said the Task Force noted several challenges that have hampered the growth of the festival in the past, including limited data to facilitate strategic planning; late procurement of artistes and inconsistent transportation linkages of the air- and sea-bridge.

The Division said the Task Force also determined that TJE has the capacity to deliver on its original intention to serve as an activity that simultaneously strengthens Destination’s Tobago brand, showcases the island’s niche products, and stimulates economic activity within the tourism business unit.

Apart from changes to its management structure, the Division said other critical steps to be taken to ensure the future success of the Tobago Jazz Experience, as recommended by the Task Force, include enhancing the selection and procurement process so it becomes more regularised and strategic as the performers serve as the main marketing element and the greatest draw for audiences.

The Task Force also recommended strengthening collaboration with Fringe events through strategic partnerships, particularly in the areas of marketing and logistics to ensure wider reach and greater public interest.

Reinforced financial reporting and economic analysis of the event to accurately assess TJE’s economic impact and allow for strategic planning in the future will also be implemented and returned focus will on core objectives of the festival - that is, using festival tourism as a destination branding tool, by promoting the ‘experience’ elements of the festival through activities indigenous to various host communities, as well as the island at large.

As it relates to Tobago Jazz Experience 2018, a committee will be established to ensure the event takes place in keeping with the recommendations made by the Task Force and accepted by the Executive Council of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Division said.

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