The BVI is projected to generate a number in the region of half-million dollars in revenue for the Buju Banton ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ show set for next month.
This is according to Deputy Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Rhodni Skelton.
He gave that projection at the media conference held on Wednesday, May 8, stating that the event will present a great opportunity for the territory.
“It gives us an opportunity to showcase to the world what the BVI is capable of; that we have recovered so much so to the point that we can host a show of this magnitude that’s expected to bring way over 8,000 guests to the BVI,” the Deputy Director said.
And while crunching numbers, the Tourist Board deputy director added: “If you look at departure tax, multiply that up by the average 8,000 persons, you’re easily talking between $300,000 – $400,000 just from that alone.”
He also noted the time period for which the concert is scheduled which, according to Skelton, is ‘on the shoulder of the BVI’s tourism season’.
“As we are seeing, already less cruise ships are coming in. By the time we get down to June, if we didn’t have the event, a lot of our business owners or tourism industry partners may be looking at layoffs and things of that nature.”
With the large influx of visitors expected, Skelton said security will be accordingly prepped to handle all potential outcomes.
“Within a week or so, we are going to have a ‘mass gather plan’ that speaks to what each of our law enforcement agencies is going to be responsible for including things that you may not think about [such as] environmental health,” Skelton explained.
He further said: “You have that mass amount of people coming in and making sure that no one gets sick. The worst thing that can happen is someone comes here expecting to have a good time and all of a sudden you fall ill because we didn’t do our due diligence. So, all of those agencies health services, police, Customs — we’re all going to sit around the table and make sure.
Meanwhile, event promoter Kennie Thompson of KT Productions said the layout of the venue will be a little different than what typically happens. He said this is to maximize on space as much as possible.
“The booths we have for [emancipation] festival; you won’t have those so that we have more space for production and patrons,” Thompson said.
A new section is also to be created at the venue to facilitate specially-invited guests, Thompson further explained.
“Because of the great demand, we had to create some more space and also we had to create an area that we are calling the Ultra VIP where we are going to have your dignitaries, [as well as] local and visiting celebrities,” he said.
The show is set for Saturday, June 15 at 5 pm.
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