St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation presents strategic marketing plan to ministers

POSTED: 02/8/13 1:09 PM

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) presented its marketing plan and long term marketing strategy to the Council of Ministers yesterday morning and dubbed the session as open with a “positive exchange of information and suggestions from government.”

In attendance were Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, Ministers Silveria Jacobs, William Marlin, Roland Duncan, Roland Tuitt and Romeo Pantophlet. Minister Cornelius De Weever was in Parliament and could not be present.

Leading the presentation for the SCDF was its marketing consultant Rolando Brison of St. Maarten to the World. The SCDF outlined its initiatives with branding St. Maarten’s Carnival, new “build-up” events in the weeks prior to carnival called “Road to Carnival” that will feature various popular night spots hosting Carnival themed parties, increased social media presence, merchandising, internet streaming of Carnival events and more.

Brison also provided information on the economic impact study reports and market research that will be compiled and presented to government and the public. Also detailed were the various airline partners that SCDF will be working with for this year’s Carnival and hotel packages that will be available.

The SCDF will now begin to roll-out all of the aforementioned initiatives next week. “We have worked for months on our marketing plan. We are of the opinion that it is past time that we make a serious push to really develop St. Maarten’s Carnival. This can only be done with a strategic plan that guides our big ideas,” President of the SCDF Mike Granger said.

“If we really want our Carnival to compete with bigger festivals in the Southern Caribbean, branding, planning, initiatives based on sound economic reports, securing long term hospitality sector partnerships and identify clear goals is the only way we will get there. We have taken major strides in just a few months since the new board started its tenure and we are determined and passionate to elevate our carnival through a professional, all-inclusive approach,” Granger added.

While the presentation focused primarily on marketing, considering that government’s subsidy contribution of 500,000 guilders is designated for marketing purposes only, as stipulated by government, the SCDF informed the ministers that a larger plan is also in place for the overall structure of Carnival including the possibility of appointing a year-round director which the SCDF is allowed to do.

Granger said the suggestions from the ministers during the meeting were on point and several are very feasible. “We heard some suggestions that could definitely be implemented to improve certain aspects of Carnival. Minister William Marlin for example, who has been involved with Carnival for years, made several suggestions regarding how to increase the involvement of children/the schools in Carnival that we never thought about. It really was a good session for us,” Granger said.

“All of these initiatives are new for Carnival and there are many, many more to come. Carnival will be a year-round affair and what we are taking now are baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we won’t get to where we want to in one Carnival year. But we are laying the ground work and with the cooperation of government, Carnival stakeholders and the private sector, Carnival will become a community of interest and firmly established as one of the premier festivals in the Caribbean,” he continued.


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