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Contact: John Emmanuel

June 25, 1998 - As the St. Lucia Tourist Board finalizes the accounts for the 1998 Jazz Festival, a significant reduction in the deficit is being reported. According to Tourism Director Hilary Modeste, the reduction came in spite of the fact that the 98 festival was extended into new venues.

This year's production cost was 2.9 million dollars as opposed to 3.1 million dollars in 1997. There have been shown no significant change in revenues and in spite of the increased venues and shows for the Festival, the deficit has not shown any significant increase. The Tourist Board has indicated that it will continue to introduce cost saving measures without compromise to the quality of the Festival.

One of the measures that will be taken this year is to put all the services provided to the Festival on tender, to ensure the best service at the best price. According to Mr. Modeste, the Board has decided to invite a number of focus groups to discuss the future of the festival. A special committee has been formed to start planning the Jazz Festival for the year 2000, an event which the board hopes will be a spectacular one.

Meantime for the 1999 festival the Board will implement certain policy changes, regarding the issuing of complementary tickets. "We feel we need to look at this as part of the process of making the production of the festival more cost effective," Modeste says. He adds that, "In many cases we have to pay guests or give them complementary tickets because we cannot find seats at some of the venues. We need to look at this very closely, especially the small venues... the cultural centre which is always over sold. This is part of our cost cutting strategy."


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