Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Operational changes expected to boost 10th Tobago Jazz Experience

Dr Keith Nurse, head of the Task Force that reported on the TJE

Dr Keith Nurse, head of the Task Force that reported on the TJE

Changes will be coming to the operations behind the annual Tobago Jazz Experience (TJE).

This, following recommendations from the  Evaluation and Strategic Task Force commissioned to assess the TJE.

The report was has submitted to the Tobago House of Assembly Executive Council after a thorough appraisal of the island’s flagship event.

Led by Dr. Keith Nurse, the Task Force was mandated to review the annual event and prepare comprehensive recommendations for the sustainable enhancement of the festival. The team carried out extensive research and liaised with key stakeholders in both the public and private sector to ascertain the most effective way forward, the THA said in a statement. 

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"While the Task Force noted several challenges that have hampered the growth of the festival in the past, including limited data to facilitate strategic planning; late procurement of artistes and inconsistent transportation linkages of the air- and sea-bridge, the team also identified various opportunities to be ceased in the future.

"The team has determined that the Tobago Jazz Experience has the capacity to deliver on its original intention to serve as an activity that simultaneously strengthens Destination’s Tobago brand, showcases the island’s niche products, and stimulates economic activity within the tourism business unit. However, recommendations were made for certain changes to the event’s management structure in order to achieve the benefits TJE is supposed to deliver," the THA said.

A critical step moving forward will be to place the management of the Tobago Jazz Experience under the Festivals Commission with a view to improving governance, budgeting and staffing of the event. The Commission’s actions will be closely monitored and assessed based on its ability to boost ticket sales and other sources of earned income; expand and widen corporate sponsorship; manage production expenses; and enhance the marketing and branding of the event and the destination.

This transition of the management of the event to the Commission will begin in 2018 and the team will immediately begin working on plans for TJE 2019.

Other critical steps to be taken to ensure the future success of the Tobago Jazz Experience are:

  • Enhancing the selection and procurement process so it becomes more regularized and strategic as the performers serve as the main marketing element and the greatest draw for audiences.
  • Strengthening collaboration with Fringe events through strategic partnerships, particularly in the areas of marketing and logistics to ensure wider reach and greater public interest.
  • Reinforcing financial reporting and economic analysis of the event in order to accurately assess TJE’s economic impact and allow for strategic planning in the future.
  • Returning focus to the core objectives of the festival - that is, using festival tourism as a destination branding tool, by promoting the ‘experience’ elements of the festival through activities indigenous to various host communities, as well as the island at large.

As it relates to Tobago Jazz Experience 2018, a committee will be established to ensure the event takes place in keeping with the recommendations made by the Task Force and accepted by the Executive Council of the Tobago House of Assembly.

The TJE will celebrate its 10th year in 2018.

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