Machel Montano

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Trinidad Tourism Ltd (TTL) has revealed that it is currently pursuing potential avenues to synergise the marketing and promotion of the country as a destination with the island’s entertainment artistes.

Responding to questions posed by Guardian Media, acting chief executive officer of TTL, Heidi Alert said: “We are presently exploring opportunities with several artistes as cultural ambassadors for our international promotional campaigns.”

This revelation comes on the heels of recent Verzuz battle between two Caribbean artistes that gained international recognition. Alert commented: “This tremendous synergy between tourism and entertainment was very evident in the Memorial Day Soundclash Edition of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s flagship IG Live series between Beenie Man and Bounty Killa.”

As it was viewed by over 500,000 viewers and with up to 3.7 million people going in and out of the live session, Alert noted that the sound clash was easily the most exciting and entertaining and further cemented Brand Jamaica (some may even state, Brand One Caribbean globally).

Alert also highlighted the power of technology during the current pandemic and its ability to create new possibilities. She said: “With the significant uptake of virtual technology, the potential for taking our music “international” is tremendous.”

She continued: “Perhaps this is one of the positive takeaways from our COVID-19 experience; creating more powerful, innovative long-term plans by investing in technology that creates new audiences across continents.”

Also responding to questions by GML was director for Caribbean and Latin America at Barbados Tourism Marketing Incorporated, Corey H Garrett.

When asked about how much of Barbados’ tourism marketing and advertising is geared towards the promotion of the entertainment culture he noted: “A sizeable proportion of the BTMI’s marketing budget goes towards support of the entertainment, culture and the creative economy.”

He added that this is shown by its considerable promotional support and partnership funding directed each year towards various events such as Crop Over, Barbados Reggae Festival, Gospel Festival, Naniki Jazz Festival, and numerous other music events.

Garrett added: “BTMI promotes and showcases local entertainment talent by taking it in to our major source markets, including, musical talent, mixologist, and chef demonstrations at major events such as Barbados on the Water.”

Meanwhile, Alert said that there is a very natural synergy between T&T entertainment and its tourism. She noted that T&T has a rich and diverse heritage and culture while emphasising that the country’s music—be it pan, calypso or soca—is heard all over the world with icons such as Calypso Rose and Machel Montano commandeering legions of fans.

Alert said that the organisation recognises the power of entertainers to reach millions of followers and help promote the destination. She gave the example of the incredible coverage generated from Trinidad-born US star Nicki Minaj attending Carnival 2020. Minaj has over 150million followers on Instagram alone.

Alert expressed that TTL has continually collaborated with a wide range of the country’s creatives to promote Destination Trinidad. She said: “Our creative talents are what set our small island nation apart and are the storytellers who convey our story in a unique and memorable way; be it through word, music or design.”

Concerts of several of T&T’s artistes have been advertised on TTL’s digital platforms as well, said Alert.

During the COVID-19 stay at home period, she expressed that TTL has supported and promoted several virtual live concerts including Carifesta Island Beats Concert and the 2019 edition of North Coast Jazz.

She also noted that Nailah Blackman took over the organisation’s IG Page (@BookTrinidad) “to provide a taste of Trinidad to hundreds of her loyal fans.”

Alert added that TTL has been collaborating with cultural practitioners to inform and educate T&T artistes on music legislation, copyright and to put in place a framework, which facilitates regional and global success.