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Cultural and Tourism Agencies Move to Strengthen Links between Tourism and the Performing Arts

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A SLHTP Representative handing over the Cultural Inventory Report and Data Base to Mrs. Patricia Charles- Chairperson at the CDF

A SLHTP Representative handing over the Cultural Inventory Report and Data Base to Mrs. Patricia Charles- Chairperson at the CDF

Friday, June 17, 2005 - Cultural and Tourism agencies are moving to incorporate Saint Lucia’s Policy on Culture into the process of building creative links between tourism and the performing arts.

In an effort to address concerns enshrined in the document, the Saint Lucia Heritage Tourism Programme handed over a Cultural Inventory Report and Data – Base to the Cultural Development Foundation- the CDF, on Wednesday, June 15th.

Coordinator of the Saint Lucia Heritage Tourism Programme Mr. Sylvester Clauzel says the information obtained from the inventory of cultural groups as well as a survey conducted to determine the views of the artists, will be very useful to the Cultural Development Foundation in seeking to developing the performing arts in Saint Lucia into an industry.

“The various consultations and analyses conducted as part of the study have led to the conclusion that it is indeed possible and desirable to promote linkages in a manner where the cultural performing arts can be made financially viable, bringing true economic benefits to themselves and to their communities as well as to their country as a whole.”

Mr. Clauzel says research and consultation for the compilation of the data base and report, commenced in mid January, 2005. The activity was undertaken by well known cultural organisation, Labowi Promotions.

The Heritage Tourism official says the data base was also disseminated to other key organizations. Among these The St. Lucia Air and Seaports Authority, SLASPA, the Tourist Board, Cricket World Cup Saint Lucia Incorporated and the Folk Research Centre.

Minister for Tourism Honourable Philip J. Pierre was among the officials who addressed the gathering. Minister Pierre stressed the importance of international appeal and quality as important factors which should guide the work of creative and talented persons. He said producers, singers, writers and cultural artists in general, possess an abundance of talent which will not amount to much without unity and cooperation.

“We have to cut off the selfishness, we have to cut off the turf wars and we have to bring all talent together so we produce something that we can invite our tourists to buy and to enjoy”.

He expressed certainty that a change in attitudes will allow artistes to elevate their outputs. Mr. Pierre said the scope of local artistes must extend well beyond the confines of the National Cultural Centre as well as beyond the shores of St. Lucia.

In the Executive Summary prepared by Executive Director of Labowie Promotion Mr Yves Renard indicated the main results of the study, that “in order to develop a truly positive and sustainable relationship between the arts and tourism, there is an urgent need to change and enhance the place of the arts in society and in national development. It indicates further that “the relationship between tourism and the performing arts require that artistes establish and maintain a delicate balance between authenticity and marketability.”

The results also indicated that the “performing arts are affected by the type of support and sponsorship they receive. Tourism has a very significant impact on the arts in St. Lucia. Outside of the main annual festivals (Carnival and Jazz), direct linkages between tourism and the performing arts occur primarily in hotels. And hotels provide substantial income and generating and employment opportunities for performing artistes.”

The report raised other issues but concluded on an optimistic note that it is desirable and possible to promote linkages in a manner that the cultural performing arts remain viable, authentic and culturally meaningful.

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