Minister for Tourism and Legal Affairs Ian Douglas, has said that the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) is making a major contribution in helping to diversify the island’s tourism and service sectors indicating that hotels are already reporting heavy bookings for the 2014 Independence season.
Douglas was speaking at the official launch of the 18th edition of the WCMF and stated that the government of Dominica recognizes the value of the festival and the role it plays in branding the destination.
“The government of Dominica continues to support this event as a flagship event for destination Dominica, providing the much needed resources to the Discover Dominica Authority and Dominica Festivals Committee to ensure that we can stage another edition of the same fervor and the same character as we have done for the past 18 years,” he said.
According to him, the WCMF is the cultural and tourism highlight of Dominica, generating about 5,000 visitors each year and contributing millions of foreign exchange and supporting various sectors of the national economy.
“The prognosis for this year’s arrival numbers is healthy with hotels already reporting heavy bookings for the period of the festival,” he said. “It means therefore that we can longer treat the festival as a frivolous child it has become a responsible adult in this period of the transitioning of the economy from its heavy agro reliance to a more service and knowledge based economy.”
e pointed out further that the festival is one of the oldest and most successful festivals of the region, which has created a platform for musical and cultural expressions of a national and international scope.
“This is the signature of the music we play, the music we love and we bring it to the worldwide audience,” Douglas stated. “This is the signature of our success and the creative cultural enterprise that is the best practice to us and to the rest of the region.”
Douglas noted further that although the festival is turning 18, it must remain fresh, relevant and innovative and vibrant.
“We need to also be cognizant of the fact that the festival has to be world class and for it to be so it requires our collective efforts to provide world class service and world class performances all around,” he remarked. “We are all being called upon to raise our standards and to raise our game and to not just be satisfied with that which we have achieved so far with this festival.”
According to him, there is still a lot to be done if the festival is to maintain its ranking regionally, and its status as a one of a kind festival in the region.
He added that the event must remain rooted in Dominica’s culture but also must become more international in its scope and dimension.