Youths play sailor mas during the street parade on Independence Day in Scarborough. – THA
Tobago carnival will be officially launched on Saturday and Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice-president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James is anticipating at minimum 95 per cent occupancy for the October 28-30 festivities.
In an interview with Newsday on Wednesday, Birchwood-James said although figures are still being collated, the outlook is positive.
“We sent out to the members to see how the accommodation is going – that was about a week or so ago. We are at 60 per cent filled up to now. We are hoping by the time bookings start – I know that bookings started on the boat already so when the bookings start then we should come up to a good 95 or so per cent.”
Although the majority of visitors are expected to be Trinis, Birchwood-James said “quite a few foreigners have booked.”
She is optimistic the inaugural carnival will be a hit.
“The music is in place – I see we have quite a few songs, there have been quite a few band launches and so on, and there is a buzz in the atmosphere with regards Tobago carnival. We have to admit it – there is a buzz in the atmosphere. People are very excited, and they are coming.”
Although there have been some criticism ahead of the carnival, Birchwood-James believes the festival will only grow. “We would learn from this experience. We’re hoping to make a very good impression.
“We have to keep in mind, it’s a Tobago carnival and not a carnival in Tobago. It’s a Tobago carnival and therefore whatever we produce must be unique. We must make a good first impression so people would want to return.”
General manager at the newly opened Comfort Inn and Suites in Scarborough, Maria Yip-John endorsed Birchwood-James’ sentiments.
“Carnival is looking very good for the carnival period, and apart from that we have several groups that are inquiring. We’re expecting that it is going to be a very good weekend.”
Marcel Van Reeken, the general manager of Blue Waters Inn, Speyside said: “There are quite a few reservations for that time. Right now, we are closed for some renovation works till halfway into October. The reservations for when we reopen are quite good. October is definitely looking good.”
Flights to Tobago for the October 28-30 weekend are almost sold out. A check on Caribbean Airlines website on Wednesday showed all flights from Piarco to Tobago sold out from October 26 to October 28, Return flights are also limited with just two early morning Sunday flights still available. The next available return flights are on November 3.
All sailings to Tobago on October 28 are sold out.
Bago Jam, a free soca concert, will be held at Shaw Park carpark on Saturday to launch the carnival.
Additionally, a number of private events have been earmarked on the calendar beginning September 25.
The island’s inaugural October carnival will be held under the theme Ritual, Revelry, Release. The calendar of events was revealed to the media at a media launch recently and includes five main events hosted by the Tobago House of Assembly: Pan in the Gayelle (October 28), J’Ouvert, Night Mas, Emerge Carnival Masquerade Gala (October 29), culminating with Parade of the Bands (October 30).
Tobago carnival calendar of events
September 25 – Soaked at Roxborough
October 1 – Dream at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex
October 22 – The Hideout at the Argyle Waterfall
October 23 – Revel on the Harbour Master
October 26 – Waddap Wednesday at Canoe Bay
October 27 – Pink Brunch (venue to be announced)
October 28 – Pan in the Gayelle
October 28 – Floats and Bikinis on the Harbour Master
October 28 – Daylight (venue to be announced)
October 28 – Finesse on board the Embassy.
October 29 – J’Ouvert
October 29 – Night Mas
October 29 – Emerge Carnival Masquerade Gala
October 29 – Mud Festival in Crown Point
October 29 – TUCO Tobago Lime at Tropikist Hotel
October 29 – Soiree (venue to be announced)
October 30 – Parade of the Bands