All systems are in place for the smooth staging of the 2016 Tobago Jazz Experience (TJE), which begins on Saturday (April 16).
That’s the assurance from Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Tourism and Transportation Assemblyman Tracy Davidson-Celestine. She was speaking at the post Executive Council media briefing on Wednesday (April 13).This year, TJE will feature a new event: Jazz on the Move. This collaboration between the Division and the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA), will see live music at 10 properties, bars and restaurants around the island.
The April 17-19 event will give patrons and guests an opportunity to have a jazz experience up close and personal, through live music from Tobago bands.
The Division will cover the cost of those performances and assist in marketing the event.
Davidson-Celestine said: “We feel it is something that can grow and develop and we expect it will lead to greater economic activity for those properties.”
The Deputy Chief Secretary said in addition this year the festival will include Cari-Jazz on April 23 to celebrate Caribbean music in jazz, featuring the likes of Third World, Arturo Tappin, Etienne Charles and 3 Canal.
She said the organisers are aware of the economic challenges facing many patrons, and the price for general admission has been reduced from $600 to $500.
Davidson-Celestine is so far impressed with ticket sales, particularly for April 22 and Sunday 24. She said this is because of the excitement of young Tobagonians over the upcoming performances of international recording artiste J Cole.
Davidson-Celestine said more than 70 suppliers and vendors, most of whom are Tobagonians, were chosen through competitive tendering under the new procurement guidelines mandated by the THA Executive Council.
She said the organisers are sticking to the budget and in real sense the investment into Jazz by the THA this year is expected to be just over $3M, down from $6M, a projected cut of 51 per cent.
She said so far occupancy at hotels and guesthouses from April 22 to 24 is 80 percent.
Davidson-Celestine said the festival attracted 24,814 in 2014, 27,796 in 2015 and for this year Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has added 16 jet services and the Port Authority has added four sailing to accommodate the influx of patrons during the period of the festival.