Hotel reservations begin for Tobago Carnival, but information still lacking

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Visitors enjoy the launch of the 2020 Tobago Carnival in Scarborough. FILE PICTURE –

CARNIVAL lovers are starting to book accommodations for Tobago’s first carnival, even as stakeholders demand more information about 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 three months to go, information is still lacking.

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

Birchwood-James said she had been in the United States for the past two weeks and there was a level of excitement there.

“Tobago Carnival is creating a big buzz in the United States. People ask if we’ve mapped flights out of New York, so it’s creating a buzz and people want to come, but they’re not getting the information we should and we’re not getting the weekly updates.

“Because time is so short, we need to kick into high gear and have the weekly updates.”

She said that since she returned home, the silence resumed.

“You really don’t hear anything about the Carnival. You have to communicate with people, you have to give them updates all the time, you have to show progress – it’s a lot of work.

She said there’s usually hype and momentum towards a carnival, but it’s not happening.

“Create excitement for interested people, they want to know before they book to come. It’s missing.”

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

“There hasn’t been a carnival for two years and my in-laws are real carnival goers. It’s their first chance to go out instead of waiting until 2023. We’re used to holidays to Tobago every year, so it’s two in one.”

He said he was a bit disappointed that there was no schedule of events yet.

Birchwood-James believes that the first year must be done well in order to lay the foundation for the following years.

“As we hang around, Dominica has a Creole festival around this time. We have to understand that because it’s new, it’s something we have to market, and we have to market it aggressively. You can’t sit back and depend on people (visitors) to Trinidad – no we have to market this aggressively and you have to say what you’re doing and give people updates and create excitement and build on it as we move into October.”

Asked about individual accommodation reviews, she said: ‘From what I understand there have been quite a few accommodation bookings and a few places have been booked for the Tobago Carnival parties. That’s as many comments as we receive.

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

“We don’t hear anything. Nobody knows anything; show dates – nothing. We are still waiting, nothing has been released.

She said the stakeholders have all met and discussed their ideas but “nothing concrete has been given so far”.

When contacted, Tobago Carnival Committee Chair Meisha Trim said discussions were continuing and more information would be provided to the public soon.

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