Maybe there has been a lacking desire to travel since the 2020 Covid-19 global shutdown and people have not yet restored their normalcy which would include annual plan for the Trinidad and Tobago carnival, or that the newer generation have moved on to the change in the carnival status quo, maybe going to African countries to get into Afro-beat festivals (yes that is a thing now). What ever the reason, president of the T&T Promoters’ Association Jerome “Rome” Precilla is determined to regain the masses by any means necessary, primarily with changes in the methods of marketing.
“This has not been the same as 2020. We expected for the mother of all Carnivals to have large numbers of patrons at events and that was not the case. We have had sometimes as much as 50 per cent drops in ticket sales with some promoters. There are one or two promoters who have had sold-out events so I would say it is not everyone, but generally, across the board we had the majority of promoters feel the pinch where they have had drop-offs in their patron attendance,”
He noted that the state of the country's and international economies have played a significant role in this drop-off in tourism during the carnival period in February. Again, this can be related to the residual effect of the global pandemic. Many people have had to point their funds to more important factors in their lives, and that savings they had annually stashed for the trip, had to be used for basic survival, even at the corporate level.
“The private companies who would usually sponsor a lot of Carnival events in terms of their marketing. Their marketing budgets have been cut post-pandemic as well. As a result, they are giving less sponsorship money to the promoters to have the events, sometimes with this sponsorship money, it was used to offset the cost of the tickets that the patrons would face, so with less sponsorship money the promoters feel the brunt of bearing most of the cost for the event. So you would find that takes a toll as well on the ticket prices”
How can the carnival number grow to what it was pre-pandemic?
“Overall, we need to analyze the flight situation in getting people here and the affordability of it in order for us make sure that our Carnival product is one that is sustainable to attract the tourists to come here without us risking having a local Carnival in future,”
While travel cost increase most definitely affected vacations globally in '21 and '22, Precilla must also study the party behavior of Gen-Z and make adjustments to please and attract that crowd. They are all online at social media (SM), all day everyday, and can easily be reached with sensational short videos. He should certainly look into establishing a solid presence at SM platforms with what's now known as "video shorts", and the winner right now is "TikTok". Such a program would not only serve to attract the Gen-Z crowd, but also create jobs locally and at very low overhead expense since the content creation staff would only need is a smartphone and no offices.
The page could quickly amass upwards of 10mil followers within a year, with marketing spending at the platform of course, which is still a low cost. Approximately $1k USD monthly would distribute the page to estimated 3 million users each month. They may not all follow immediately, but exposure is achieved and from there it's about making it a fad AKA - follow fashion, band wagonists.
The reality is that people, very real people, now get all their marketing and event notification at social media. Get with it!