Port of Spain, Trinidad: Monday, August 27, 2018: The National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (NCC) is currently rolling out a promotional campaign designed to encourage more regional and international visitors to come to Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival.
The Campaign, titled “Come TT Carnival”, which was launched last year as part of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ five-year marketing strategy, showcases the nation’s Carnival celebrations as one of the most diverse and original in the world.
It is also designed to raise greater awareness of the various and more traditional cultural elements of the Trinidad Carnival, while encouraging more visitors from across the Caribbean and around the world to experience it first-hand.
This year, the NCC assumed a more direct role in the activations, starting with an exploratory visit to Jamaica’s carnival in April, followed by a promotional campaign in Barbados’ Crop Over in August.
While Jamaica was more of an information gathering exercise, Barbados, on the other hand, saw the first full exploration of the campaign, comprising an Instagram competition designed to give one contestant the opportunity to win a free trip for two to Carnival 2019 simply by taking a picture (selfie) with one of the Campaign’s brand ambassadors, uploading to Instagram, and using specific hashtags.
The picture with the most likes by August 31 would be adjudged the winner.
Commenting on the rationale behind the Campaign and the NCC’s support, Chairman Winston Peters cited the Commission’s drive to market Carnival and its products and activities in domestic and international markets.
“We are currently exploring new ways and avenues to develop and implement a sustainable marketing strategy for Carnival with a view to optimising its revenue earning potential and contribution to the national economy. “
“Come TT, as a brand awareness and loyalty building campaign, shows significant promise as a new way of showcasing our Carnival as having one of the most diverse array of events in the world, that go beyond the fetes and bikinis and feathers.”
“Events that include our traditional masquerade characters, stick fighting, Panorama, the Canboulay Riots Re-Enactments and so on,” Peters added.
Speaking on the progress so far, NCC Commissioner and one of the participants in the COME TT Activation, Dr Suzanne Burke said, “We are looking at all Carnivals in the overseas circuit and reiterating that if you want to taste a rich Carnival experience, come to Trinidad and Tobago.”
While the NCC understands that Trinidad and Tobago cannot compete with the likes of many of its Caribbean cousins in terms of the prices of flights and accommodation, the country’s competitive advantage lies in the diverse range of cultural expressions that make up our festival, all of which give the prospective visitor many options based on the experience they wish to have.
“We have always believed that while our (T&T) Carnival is one of the richest, most diverse in the world, that alone is not enough to compete with the heavy competition coming from our Caribbean neighbours and the diaspora,” Dr Burke said.
“While we appreciate and love what makes our Carnival different, we know that more can be done to put in a real and sustained effort to market our unique product as the most original, vibrant and deserving of people’s patronage,” she added.
The NCC collaborated with ComeTrinbago and Caesar’s Army, a well-known, locally based events planner, on the activations in Jamaica and Barbados.
“Since Caesar’s Army is already heavily involved in the local and international Carnival circuits, as a point of entry for us, we felt it was strategic to partner with them. They are already in those markets so we didn’t have to seek market entry on our own,” Dr Burke said.
“Similarly, through the Come TT Campaign, both the NCC and ComeTrinbago can better align our energies and respective efforts and expertise as we act on a pressing need to showcase our Carnival to the world.”
Having only formally launched the Campaign this year, the NCC is still taking formative steps to make it even better, adding that the Campaign’s success will be determined by exit surveys deployed when visitors are departing Trinidad after the Carnival period.
“We will see what return on investment we get and use the results to improve and streamline further activations,” Burke added.