The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Launches Caribbean Tourism Month 2023 Celebrations

Caribbean Tourism Month 2023 Message from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts joins the global community in another exciting celebration of Caribbean Tourism Month. Every year, during the month of November, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its member states come together under the overarching theme “One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean”, to raise awareness of tourism in the Caribbean; to celebrate the diversity of the tourism sector in this region; and to reflect on the impact of tourism on the economic, social and cultural well-being of Caribbean people.

On September 27, 2023, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) commemorated World Tourism Day under the theme “People, Planet and Prosperity.” This year, Caribbean Tourism Month carries forward this theme, highlighting the need for investment in People through education and skills; investment in our Planet through sustainable infrastructure and accelerated green transformation; and investment in our Prosperity through innovation, technology and entrepreneurship with a focus on the 3S’s – Sustainability, Social inclusion and Smart destinations and businesses. These initiatives are critical for the growth, long-term sustainability, resilience and productivity of the tourism sector in the Caribbean. They position the Caribbean to thrive economically, while contributing positively to our environment and our people. The integration of the 3S’s – “Sustainability, Social inclusion and Smart Destinations and Businesses” has also been identified as a key priority for the Caribbean region as it continues to recover from the residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interconnectedness of the 3S’s fosters greater resiliency in Caribbean destinations, while ensuring the meaningful participation of our people, the protection of our environment and the stimulation of economic growth.

The Ministry is cognisant of the direct relationship between strategic investments in the tourism sector and its recovery post Covid 19.  Our people must be consistently trained and upskilled in order to maintain service excellence within the sector. Our natural environment beckons sustainable tourism innovations and greening initiatives. Our sector is ripe for digitalization, entrepreneurship and new realms of creativity. The Ministry is committed to its role in facilitating and promoting a robust and profitable sector. However, the development of our people, the preservation of our planet and the promotion of our prosperity must be a nationwide partnership, one in which each citizen recognizes his or her role in the thriving sector.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, as a CTO member, is proud to launch its nationwide Caribbean Tourism Month campaign aimed at building the capacity of our stakeholders, showcasing our cultural and tourism products, promoting sustainable tourism initiatives and encouraging cultural confidence and national pride. The Ministry, in collaboration with its implementation agency, Tourism Trinidad Limited, will be undertaking various tourism and cultural events and activities aligned with the themes identified above. These include: cultural events and exhibitions, Community-Based Tourism Enterprise Workshops, a Tourism and Creative Industries Career Day, a nationwide Essay Writing Competition for school-aged children, a Beach Clean-up, a Tree Planting Exercise and much more.

We invite you to immerse yourselves in all the destination has to offer, for our people, planet and prosperity. For more information, please contact the Corporate Communications Unit via:

Call for Feedback: Ministry Upgrades the Artist Registry Database

In April of 2023 the Artist Registry of Trinidad & Tobago (ARTT), in collaboration with Naparima Bowl, was confirmed as an awardee under the Creative Caribbean: An Ecosystem of ‘P.L.A.Y’  for Growth and Development Grant Scheme. This grant is being used to support the upgrade of the database and website associated with the Artist Registry.
 
As such, the ARTT is conducting a survey to gain valuable feedback from users of the database and website to inform our new design. We want to hear from you! If you or someone you know has used our database or visited our website at www.artistregistrytt.com, your opinion matters to us.
 
Please see the link for the survey here: https://forms.gle/5Xn371yNQjm9fayH7
 
The survey closes on Friday October 27th.
 
We thank the Creative Caribbean project, which is being implemented by UNESCO, the CARICOM Secretariat and The University of the West Indies (UWI) with funding from the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, under the ACP-EU 11th EDF Culture Programme.

The Ministry Welcomes New Permanent Secretary (Ag.)

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts proudly welcomes our new Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Mr. Videsh Maharaj, who assumed duty on Friday 6th October, 2023. PS (Ag.) Maharaj joined the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & the Arts from the Ministry of Education, where he served as the Deputy Permanent Secretary.

PS (Ag.) Videsh Maharaj is equipped with extensive knowledge and experience in economics, investments, policy development, implementation and analysis. After graduating from the University of the West Indies with both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Economics, PS (Ag.) Maharaj went on to have a stellar career in the Ministry of Trade and Industry with increased areas of responsibility over 15 years.

PS (Ag.) Maharaj has also been a member of several Cabinet Appointed Committees including the Committee to Review Tourism Incentives. We look forward to PS (Ag.) Maharaj’s leadership and insight as we work towards achieving our goals for Vision 2030!

A Tracer Study into Capacity Building in the Culture Sector

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts is conducting a series of surveys on training programmes hosted under the Culture Division, to determine their effectiveness in supporting the development of persons in the Culture Sector as we work towards a resilient creative community.

This is a Tracer Study that features three training programmes that were launched in 2012; Cultural and Technical Camps, Mentoring by the Masters and Music Schools in the Community. If you or anyone you know participated in these programmes from 2012 to 2019, we invite you to complete the relevant survey below. We also encourage parents / guardians to complete the survey for minors.

Cultural Camps was designed as meaningful vacation activities that expose children to the Arts, Heritage and Culture, while Technical Camps was developed to target emerging cultural entrepreneurs, to enhance their technical skills and increase their earning capacity in the Culture Sector. Complete the Cultural and Technical Camps survey here.

Mentoring by the Masters is a mentorship workshop series that aims to honour our cultural icons as they pass on their knowledge and expertise to upcoming professionals. Its other spin-off pilot programmes include Professional Development Workshops and Cultural Legends Series. Complete the Mentoring by the Masters survey here.

Music Schools in the Community seeks to create a cadre of musicians for the future, increase music literacy and support community-based organisations in capacity building for self-sustainability. Complete the Music Schools in the Community survey here.

The surveys close on 24th November 2023 at 12:00pm.

Trinidad and Tobago’s QPR Submission for UNESCO’s 2005 Convention

On 30th June 2023, Trinidad and Tobago submitted its Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR) for the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Our country was among twelve Parties to the 2005 Convention that submitted QPRs in 2023.

From June 2022 to June 2023, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (MTCA) received technical assistance from UNESCO, as offered to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), towards elaborating Trinidad and Tobago’s QPR in a participatory manner for the 2005 Convention.

Throughout the technical assistance project the key activities that took place were:

  • A Capacity Building Workshop for Trinidad and Tobago’s National Team facilitated by Dr. Deborah Hickling Gordon (UWI, Mona Campus) and Dr. Suzanne Burke (UWI, St. Augustine Campus) from 24th to 27th April 2023;
  • A Multi-Stakeholder Consultation for public officials and civil society stakeholders on 28th April 2023 at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA);
  • Followed by National Training Workshops for civil society stakeholders on the 2005 Convention and how organisations can contribute to the reporting process through completion of the CSO form, facilitated by Dr. Suzanne Burke, and National Coordinator, Ms. Daniella Carrington, on 25th May 2023.

Following these activities, a public call for submissions from civil society organisations (CSOs) was issued that invited them to complete the CSO form for consideration of their projects and programmes that support the goals of the 2005 Convention. Of those that responded to the call, three CSOs were selected to be included in Trinidad and Tobago’s QPR. They are the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago with their Playwrights Workshop Trinbago, the Secondary Schools’ Drama Association with their Secondary Schools Drama Festival, and Pan Trinbago Inc. T.C. with their Social Prosperity Fund, Taste of Carnival and Pop Up Shop.

In the months of May and June 2023, Trinidad and Tobago’s National Team worked on drafting our country’s QPR with the continued support of Dr. Deborah Hickling Gordon, UNESCO’s Diversity of Cultural Expressions Entity and the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean, which included mentoring and technical assistance in navigating UNESCO’s online reporting platform.

Early in July 2023, the MTCA received notice from UNESCO that Trinidad and Tobago’s QPR was validated and would be featured the 2005 Convention’s website, with the individual measures outlined in the report available on the 2005 Convention’s Policy Monitoring Platform.

We at the MTCA are grateful for being a part of UNESCO’s technical assistance project for the 2005 Convention and seek to continue engaging the range of stakeholders involved in the Arts and Culture Sector of Trinidad and Tobago to keep a participatory process in policy development and monitoring.

Be sure to check out Trinidad and Tobago’s Quadrennial Periodic Report here.

Tourism Trinidad Limited Explores New Opportunities at the Tourism Industry Marketing Conference during Caribbean Week in New York City

Tourism Trinidad Limited (TTL) recently took part in the highly anticipated Tourism Industry Marketing Conference, a key event during Caribbean Week in New York City. This conference, organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Foundation, served as a platform for industry leaders to engage in meaningful discussions, network, and celebrate the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean. From June 5-8, 2023, TTL had the privilege of showcasing Trinidad and Tobago’s diverse and captivating offerings to esteemed colleagues in the tourism industry and the media.

The 45th anniversary of Caribbean Week in New York held special significance, as it marked the ongoing success of this prominent event. Over the years, Caribbean Week has proven to be instrumental in promoting the region as a premier travel destination, emphasizing its natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. The conference brought together stakeholders from various sectors of the tourism industry, providing invaluable opportunities for collaboration and sustainable growth.

At the Tourism Industry Marketing Conference, TTL’s representatives actively participated in a series of engaging sessions and panel discussions. These sessions covered topics such as innovative marketing strategies, emerging trends, and the future of Caribbean tourism. By immersing themselves in these conversations, TTL gained valuable insights from industry experts and contributed to shaping the future of Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism sector.

In an increasingly digital world, TTL recognized the importance of leveraging social media and digital platforms to amplify their message and reach a global audience. Through captivating visual content, live streams, and well-executed social media campaigns, TTL showcased the picturesque landscapes, vibrant festivals, and unique cultural experiences that Trinidad and Tobago has to offer. These efforts aimed to inspire wanderlust and encourage travelers to explore the wonders of the destination.

Participating in the Tourism Industry Marketing Conference during Caribbean Week in New York City has further solidified Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to sustainable tourism practices and the preservation of its cultural heritage. By actively engaging with industry professionals, TTL fostered valuable connections and partnerships, laying the foundation for future collaborations that will elevate the country’s tourism industry.

TTL extends its appreciation to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Foundation for their dedication to organizing Caribbean Week in New York City. Through their efforts, the region’s diverse tourism offerings have received global recognition, and industry stakeholders have been able to come together to drive progress and innovation.

Looking ahead, Trinidad and Tobago eagerly anticipates welcoming travelers from around the world, inviting them to discover the destination’s enchanting landscapes, vibrant traditions, and warm hospitality. TTL’s participation in the Tourism Industry Marketing Conference has positioned the country for a bright future, where it can thrive as a top-tier travel destination.

Let us celebrate the beauty, culture, and vast potential of the Caribbean region as we continue to promote sustainable tourism practices and create unforgettable experiences for travelers worldwide.

Celebrating the Spirit of Calypso: National Calypso Queen and Young King Awards Shine Spotlight on Cultural Excellence

Trinidad and Tobago, the vibrant hub of carnival celebrations and a beacon of cultural heritage, proudly hosts the annual National Calypso Queen and Young King Calypso Awards Ceremony. This prestigious event, organized by the National Action Cultural Committee and the National Women’s Action Committee, stands as a testament to our country’s unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting the cherished art form of calypso. In this blog post, we delve into the profound significance of this ceremony and the exceptional talents it recognizes.

Calypso, often hailed as the “soul of the Caribbean,” holds deep historical roots as a powerful medium for expressing social and political commentary. The National Calypso Queen and Young King Calypso Awards Ceremony serves as an empowering platform for both emerging and established artists to proudly present their exceptional lyrical abilities, nurturing the ongoing expansion and safeguarding of this revered artistic expression. This remarkable event underscores the diverse range of individuals and organizations that contribute to the cultural ecosystem, fostering its vitality and longevity, including government officials, private entities, cultural icons, and aspiring members of the cultural sector, all collaborating to create and maintain a thriving cultural ecology.

The National Calypso Queen Competition crowned the remarkable Miss Tameika Darius, with her soul-stirring song titled “Now More Than Ever.” This iconic competition celebrates women’s powerful and influential voices in calypso music. Women from diverse backgrounds take centre stage, captivating audiences with their spirited performances and thought-provoking lyrics. The competition not only showcases the incredible talents of these artists but also empowers women in the industry, allowing them to voice their perspectives on social issues, gender equality, and cultural identity.

The Young King Calypso Competition, won by the talented Heaven “Snakey” Charles with his song titled “What Yuh Need Trinbago Again,” recognizes the younger generation’s invaluable contributions to the calypso scene. This segment of the awards ceremony provides a platform for talented young artists to showcase their skills and share their unique perspectives. By nurturing young talent and encouraging their active participation in calypso music, we ensure the longevity of the art form while infusing it with fresh perspectives and creative energy.

This competition serves as a lens through which society views us. Calypso music’s defining feature lies in its power to serve as a compelling tool for social commentary. The National Calypso Queen and Young King Calypso Awards Ceremony amplifies this aspect, encouraging artists to address pressing societal issues through their lyrics and performances. From political corruption to social inequality, these artists utilize their voices to shed light on pertinent topics, sparking conversations that resonate with audiences both locally and internationally.

The influence of the National Calypso Queen and Young King Calypso competitions attract artists, enthusiasts, and cultural connoisseurs from around the world, uniting them in a celebration of calypso music’s ability to transcend borders and foster cultural exchange. The competitions not only showcases the remarkable talent within Trinidad and Tobago but also reinforces the nation’s cultural identity on a global scale.

This awards ceremony holds a special place in the hearts of Trinbagonians and calypso enthusiasts worldwide. It serves as a testament to the enduring significance of calypso music and its profound ability to reflect the social fabric of Trinidad and Tobago. By honouring established and emerging artists, the event ensures that this remarkable art form will continue to thrive for generations. With its celebration of talent, expression, and cultural identity, the National Calypso Queen and Young King Calypso Awards Ceremony truly encapsulates the spirit and soul of calypso music.

UNESCO’s 2005 Convention in Trinidad and Tobago

In June 2022, UNESCO invited Parties to the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, specifically, Small Island Developing Countries / States (SIDS), to participate in online training workshops on elaborating the Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR) in a participatory manner. The workshop took place in September 2022 which saw participation from Parties in the Caribbean, namely, Barbados, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The objectives of the workshop hosted by UNESCO were to sensitise participants on the 2005 Convention and the importance of submitting their QPRs as part of information sharing, as well as to discuss the need for involving civil society organisations, among other stakeholders in the Culture Sector in the reporting process. Parties to the 2005 Convention report every four years as one of their obligations.

Following the online training workshop in September 2022, UNESCO recommended that participants apply for technical assistance being offered to SIDS, to support the elaboration of their QPRs. UNESCO realised that the “common challenges” that SIDS have with being able to elaborate their QPRs, are the “lack of relevant data and information, limited capacity to assess and monitor the impact of policies and measures for the diversity of cultural expressions and fragile networking between governments and civil society”. The intention with this technical assistance is to support SIDS in the submission of their QPRs to UNESCO by 30th June 2023.

The Culture Division in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts submitted an application which was accepted, and coming out from this formed Trinidad and Tobago’s National Team for a collaborative approach to the reporting process as advised by UNESCO. This National Team consists of representation from the Ministries of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Education, Trade and Industry, Social Development and Family Services, Trinidad and Tobago’s Intellectual Property Office, and Bureau of Standards, the University of Trinidad and Tobago, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association, the Network of Rural Women Producers Trinidad and Tobago, among others.

With the support of UNESCO’s Diversity of Cultural Expressions Entity and the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean, key roles were assigned and a work plan developed to guide the execution of the technical assistance to meet the QPR submission deadline in June 2023. Trinidad and Tobago had the pleasure of being assigned Dr. Deborah Hickling Gordon from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, a communication and culture-in-development strategist and member of UNESCO’s Expert Facility. Our assigned National Expert was Dr. Suzanne Burke, from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, whose research focuses on Caribbean culture and specializes in cultural policies and programmes.

Both Dr. Hickling Gordon and Dr. Burke trained and guided the National Team to understand the goals and objectives of the 2005 Convention, its monitoring framework and reporting process during a capacity building workshop, which took place from 24th to 27th April 2023 at the Ministry’s Head Office and Queen’s Hall. It was an opportunity to fully appreciate the importance of teamwork, learn more about the policies, projects and programmes of our respective organisations and form connections that seek to last beyond the technical assistance from UNESCO and the submission of the QPR for Trinidad and Tobago.

The capacity building workshop was followed by a multi-stakeholder consultation on 28th April 2023 hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts and UNESCO in the Little Theatre at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts. The consultation featured greetings from the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Simone Thorne-Mora Quinones, information about the technical assistance project from Cultural Officer II (Ag.), Ms. Daniella Carrington, a presentation on the 2005 Convention and the reporting process with a focus on how civil society organisations can contribute by Dr. Deborah Hickling Gordon, key findings from the capacity building workshop by Dr. Suzanne Burke, and concluded with a sounding board for audience feedback.

 

View a recap of the multi-stakeholder consultation to learn about the technical assistance project in Trinidad and Tobago, the 2005 Convention and its reporting process, and key findings from the capacity building workshop.

 

Link to video: https://youtu.be/V3klwGrXupQ

 

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts invites civil society organisations (CSOs) to contribute to our reporting process through the completing of the CSO form. This is an opportunity to be featured for the developmental work you have been doing in support of the 2005 Convention and represent Trinidad and Tobago!

Some resources we want to share are the QPR and CSO forms, the 2005 Convention and more, available HERE.

Please submit your completed CSO form to nationalregistrytt@gmail.com by 9th June 2023.

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts attends the St. Anthony’s College Career Day Fair.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (MTCA) attended the St. Anthony’s College Career Day Fair on Wednesday 15th June, 2022. The MTCA delivered presentations to six (6) groups of students (approximately 25 – 30 students per group) from forms 1 to 3 about the tourism, culture and arts sectors and the wide range of career opportunities available therein. In addition, career opportunities available at the MTCA and its entities were highlighted. The sessions were held from 9:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. There were also opportunities for direct interaction with individual students, who visited the booth.  Students were also exposed to the Steel Pan and advised of its importance to our culture, as well as the career prospects available to persons pursuing careers in the musical arts field.

The Royal Caribbean Group Recruitment Fair

On June 7 – 10, 2022, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, in partnership with the Royal Caribbean Group, hosted a nationwide recruitment fair which was patronized by over 2800 applicants. This initiative took place following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, on May 23, between Royal Caribbean Group and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts for and on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. On June 7, 2022, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Senator the Honourable Randall Mitchell shared more information about this recruitment initiative on national television via TTT News.

The Recruitment Drive took place at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts and the Shaw Park Cultural Complex, Tobago. Staff from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Arts were on hand between 9 and 5pm to assist persons with their online applications and to pre-check persons before they moved on to the next stage of the application process.

Royal Caribbean Group set a target of employing a minimum of 2000 nationals in various areas including Cruise Programs, Shore Excursions (Port Activities), Guest Services, Beverage, Food Services, Food Production, Financial Operations, Marine, Photography, Gaming and Housekeeping. However, the nationwide response was overwhelming. Many applicants were interviewed and offered positions on the spot, while others were offered follow up interviews. Due to the high number of applicants and patrons at the events, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts assisted RCG in collecting the contact information of persons who were not able to be interviewed during the recruitment fair. These persons would be subsequently contacted by RCG for virtual interviews.