BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE culture, pageantry and the lush beauty of Dominica were on display for the world to see as the island reopened to its major festival, the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF), and other festivities during the month of October and November.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism and its subsidiary arms are describing activities, especially the World Creole Music Festival, as being a success.
The event, which is a staple on the Dominica Calendar, was on a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Government worked tirelessly to ensure that the mega event returned at all cost.
WCMF forms part of the territory’s Independence celebration along with a number of other activities, including the Miss OECS Pageant that was won by Antigua and Barbuda.
The event, which is controlled by the Ministry of Tourism and Discover Dominica, reminded the region and the rest of the world that Dominica is open for business.
It showcased the pristine rainforest, the green landscape and the vast untapped landscape that is expected to be developed in some years to come.
During a recent interview with SKNVibes News, Colin Piper, Director of Tourism in Dominca, reminded that the event is used as a means of drawing tourists to the island during the off-peak period.
This year, they were targeting 10,000 arrivals during the three-day festival.
“According to a preliminary count and provisional data, there were 7,421 visitors who arrived over the normal WCMF period of Friday, October 21 to Saturday, October 29.
That was a five percent increase in visitor arrivals over 2019.
Visitor arrivals by air were six percent ahead of 2019, while visitor arrivals by sea showed a four percent improvement over 2019.
“Attendance for the Festival in 2022 surpassed the attendance figures from 2019 as well. Preliminary reports from scanned tickets into the park total the attendance at 33,173, approximately 14% greater than 2019. Patrons had the option of general attendance, seating in the stands or patronizing the Coastal Village VIP,” a statement from the Discover Dominica Authority read.
This year, the Festival hosted 23 artistes, 11 of whom were described as “local” or Dominican artistes in the genres of Cadence Lypso, Bouyon, Compas and Dancehall. Soca, Zouk, Reggae, and Afrobeat were performed by other regional and international performers.
The Festival was headlined by African artiste Burna Boy, along with regional superstars Kes the Band, Shenseea, Patrice Roberts and Sizzla. They drew more patrons to the Festival that resulted in an increase in revenue from the event.
“A combination of increased ticket sales and an increase in ticket prices resulted in gate receipts which are 31% higher than 2019 gate receipts,” the authorities noted.
This year, the island gained worldwide recognition as interest peaked for the Festival’s return, as the Government welcomed more than 200 media representatives and influencers to the shores, including those from Trinidad and Tobago in the South to the Federation in the North.
Now, with 2022 being deemed a success because from the small businesses to large entities benefiting from the influx of tourists, the Ministry of Tourism has already began working on the 2023 events.
It is not only promoting the 2023 World Creole Music Festival - slated for October 27-29 - but it is pushing Mas Domnik, Dominica’s Carnival from January 14 - February 22 as well as for Dominica’s Jazz ‘n’ Creole on April 30.
The staging of the World Creole Music Festival showcased all of Dominica, from the culture and scenery to the its hospitality, sending a statement to the rest of the world that it is open for business again.