Hotel bookings start for Tobago Carnival, but info still lacking

Visitors have fun at  the launch of the 2020 Tobago Carnival in Scarborough. FILE PHOTO  -
Visitors have fun at the launch of the 2020 Tobago Carnival in Scarborough. FILE PHOTO -

CARNIVAL lovers are beginning to book their accommodation for the inaugural Tobago Carnival, even as stakeholders are appealing for more information on the October 28-30 festivities.

In an interview with Newsday on Tuesday, Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James lamented that with three months to go, information is still lacking.

“We’re not getting the information that we should,” she said.

Birchwood-James said she travelled to the United States over the last two weeks and there was a level of excitement there.

“Tobago Carnival is creating a big buzz in the United States. People are asking if we have charted flights from New York, so it’s creating a buzz and people want to come, but they’re not getting information that we should and we’re not getting the weekly updates.

"Because the time is so short, we need to put ourselves in a gear and have the weekly updates.”

She said since she has been back home, the silence has resumed.

“You’re not hearing anything about the Carnival really. You have to communicate with people, you have to give them updates all the time, you have to show the progression – it is a lot of work.”

She said there is usually a hype and momentum towards a Carnival, but this is not happening.

"Build the excitement for people who are interested, they want to know before they book to come. It’s lacking.”

One Trinidadian, who wished to stay anonymous, told Newsday that his close friends and family have already booked their accommodation in Buccoo.

"It did not have Carnival for two years and my in-laws are real Carnival people. This is their first opportunity to jump out instead of waiting till 2023. We're accustomed vacationing to Tobago every year so it's two in one."

He said that he is a bit disappointed that there is no calendar of events as yet.

Birchwood-James believes the first year must be done right in order to set the foundation for the following years.

“While we are dilly-dallying, Dominica has a creole festival around that time. We have to understand that because it’s new, it is something that we have to market, and we have to market it aggressively. You can’t sit down and depend on people (visitors) from Trinidad – no, we have to market this aggressively and you have to say what you’re doing and give people updates, create the excitement and build on it as we go into October.”

Questioned about feedback from individual accommodations, she said: “What I do understand, there have been quite a few bookings for accommodation and a few places have been booked for Tobago Carnival parties. That is as much feedback that we’re getting.”

Chair of the Tobago Carnival Bandleaders Association (TCBA) Jemma Bedlow shared similar sentiments.

“We’re not hearing nothing. No one knows anything; the dates of the show – nothing. We’re still waiting, nothing has been released.”

She said that the stakeholders all met and discussed their ideas but “nothing concrete has been given to date.”

When contacted, Chairman of the Tobago Carnival Committee Meisha Trim said that the discussions are ongoing and more information would be provided to the public soon.


"Hotel bookings start for Tobago Carnival, but info still lacking"

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