Gilkes is making a case for joint promotion of Caribbean festivals to
enhance the global appeal of the region. Speaking during a media conference
in Trinidad and Tobago, where the Barbados Tourism Authority and NCF teamed
to promote Barbados and Crop-Over, Gilkes called for the creation of an
umbrella organisation to market regional festivals.
"We need such an umbrella body to market these festivals to the world.
We need to do that to assist the Caribbean in being recognised as a leading
destination for entertainment."
Gilkes said the region was quite appealing to visitors
from all over the world, and while there were several festivals taking
place throughout the year in different islands, each territory tended
to market its festivals on its own.
"I think the time has come for Government agencies and tourism partners
in the region to get together and look at this as a means of attracting
more visitors to the region."
As a start, he suggested that festivals in Trinidad and Barbados were
particularly strong, and it would be wise to join forces to sell our cultural
products to the world.
Gilkes said there was a synergy between Trinidadians and Barbadians where
increasing numbers from both countries visited each other's carnivals
Addressing Crop-Over 2005, the NCF chairman said new music was coming
out and the season was shaping to be an encouraging one.
"We are hopeful this year that we will have one of the best Crop-Overs
on record," he said.
Gilkes said last year Barbados had to deal with issues related to piracy
during the festival, and this affected the output of music as well as
the music that would have filtered into other carnivals and festivals
in the region.
"This year we do not see ourselves with such a dilemma."
He said there would be no major changes for Crop-Over 2005, but efforts
were being made to enhance the product.
Steelpan, he said, a representative of Caribbean culture, would be integrated
into the festival in a bigger way this year.