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Submission for SALISES 15th Annual Conference, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

& Tobago, April 23-25, 2014

Festival Economic Impacts on Small Developing Economies: A Case


Study of Grenadas Spice Mas
By Jo-anne Tull, Ph.D.
Carnival Studies Unit, Dept. of Creative and Festival Arts
The University of the West Indies
St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
Abstract
Global economy contexts of intense competition and recessionary tribulations reinforce
the need for small developing countries to harness avenues of industrial diversification
that can lead to sustainable economic development. In the predominantly small
developing country region of the Caribbean, the burgeoning growth of festivals has
given impetus to the pursuance of tourism-led strategies that utilise festivals as drivers
for bolstering the regions economic development. The Grenada Spice Mas, the national
carnival celebration of Grenada, has been positioned to generate such returns, having
been moved to the month of August to stave off competition from other regional
carnivals and to maximize on opportunities to significantly impact on the national
economy. This paper offers a preliminary analysis of Grenadas Spice Mas economic
impact based on the findings of a visitor exit survey, a festival management audit and a
sponsorship survey conducted during the 2011 celebrations. The paper seeks to identify
lessons to be gained from the Spice Mas experience in harnessing festivals as viable
contributors to small developing economies such as Grenadas.
Key Words:
festival economic impacts; festival tourism; Grenada Spice Mas; festival management;
small developing states.

Introduction
Festivals are progressively being positioned to catalyse a range of opportunities beyond
their customary role1 in society (see Figure 1). Much of this has been the documented
experience of more prominent, major (mega) festivals located in urban developed areas,
and suggests that festivals can have a transformative effect. To a lesser degree, attention
has been given to the impact of festivals in smaller host locales, where festival
characteristics and economic contexts are likely to be different and for which platforms
for sustainable development have been limiting.
FIGURE 1
MAIN STRATEGIES PURSUED THROUGH FESTIVALS
SPUR ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT

TRANSFORM CITY/
TOWN/COMMUNITY
LANDSCAPE

DIVERSIFY
TOURISM
PRODUCT
IMAGE
MAKER

RETAIN
HERITAGE
MODEL FOR
SUSTAINABLE
ENVIRONMENT

THE
FESTIVAL

COMMUNITY
BUILDING

This paper seeks to widen the discourse on festival impacts and economic development
by exploring the economic impact of festivals in the context of small developing
economies. Festival impacts may be regarded as encompassing a variety of positive
gains and negative effects that accrue on account of a festival happening. Festival
impacts are generally defined according to specific categories, viz. socio-cultural,
physical and environmental, political, tourism and economic (Ferdinand and Shaw
2012; Mason and Beaumont-Kerridge 2009; Getz 2005; Bowdin et. al 2001). This paper
is particularly concerned with exploring economic impacts derived from the national
carnival festival of the small developing Caribbean nation of Grenada, called Grenada
Spice Mas Festival. The paper engages in a preliminary economic impact analysis of

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Festivals construct and showcase social/cultural experiences through ritual and traditions, cultural and
artistic objects, aesthetics, performance, and engagement to create unique, public celebrations.

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Grenada Spice Mas Festival 2011, to identify broadly the benefits accrued from the
Festival. The paper concludes with some reflections on how festival impacts might be
built upon to contribute to a platform for sustainable economic development.
The Context
As small developing economies continue to grapple with global systemic economic
shifts, sustainable economic development remains a difficult but urgent quest for the
Caribbean. The regions long journey of inconsistent industrial platforms, more recently
comprising an unstable tripod of trade preferences, commodity booms and mass
tourism combined with offshore financial services (Hendrickson et. al. 2012: 7), have
not kept pace with the realities of the global economy. While the global economy has
become further trade-liberalised and more knowledge-driven, Caribbean economies
continue to overlook the value of their indigenous resources (including human
resources) to efficiently and innovatively shape their economic destiny (Farrell 2012;
Pantin and Mahabir 1998). The regions chosen mechanisms for growth, trade and
export expansion have not yielded favourably. Most of the regions economies have
marginal levels of output and export diversification (Ramkissoon-Babwah 2013). The
region remains a peripheral performer in the global economy with low levels of
productivity, low value-added, weak investment, high import bills and high repatriation
of foreign exchange (Morris 2012; Warde 2010). Indeed, alternative platforms to
development require consideration.
UNESCOs (2013) recent articulation for culture to be recognized as a key pillar of the
UNs Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for a new post-2015 development
agenda gives useful scope in this regard . The Report makes the point that culture is a
driver of development led by the growth of the creative economy, and is one of the
fastest growth poles in the global economy that is highly transformative . . . in terms of
income-generation, job creation and export earnings (UNESCO 2013: 9). Festivals fall
within the domain of the creative economy and as such have a key role to play in
contributing to the wider economy. Scotlands Edinburgh International Festival of the
Arts, for example, is well known for its significant impact on the local economy of

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Edinburg as well as on the wider national economy. An assessment of the 2010 Festival
reveals that an estimated 58.59 million was generated in income and some 250
million in visitor expenditure that generated direct benefits to businesses in the tourism,
hospitality and leisure sectors in Edinburgh and Scotland, with a patron size of just over
1 million (BOP Consultants 2011).
Perhaps more than any other sector, tourism benefits from festivals and festivals gain
from tourism (see Table 1). This has spawned the development of festival tourism,
described as one of the fastest growing forms of leisure- and tourism-related
phenomenon (Derret 2009: 38). As a subsector of cultural tourism, festival tourism
involves the showcase and experience of culture, performance and spectacle as a pull
factor to the host destination. As such, festival tourism is known to contribute to the
host economy through the generation of visitor expenditure; the generation of foreign
exchange earnings; contributions to tax revenue; job creation and spillover effects in
other related sectors of the economy such as retail and tourism (Stambro 2013; Myles
et. al. 2012). Derret (2009), Hall (1992) as well as Getz and Frisby (1988) proffer that
festival tourism may also aid in community development and building regional identity.
It has been also argued that festival tourism can build cultural confidence (Nurse
2004a). In sum, festival tourism can foster linkages to contribute to economic
development.
TABLE 1
KEY LINKAGES BETWEEN FESTIVALS AND TOURISM
FESTIVALS INFLUENCE ON
TOURISM
Enhance attractiveness, imaging and publicity)
of a destination
Fill the void in the tourism and travel calendar,
e.g. hotel occupancy and airline seats
Encourage longer stay-overs and spending
Serve as a catalyst for repeat visits
Attract international media exposure to the
destination
Encourage expansion of hospitality
infrastructure - hotels, restaurants etc.

TOURISM INFLUENCE ON
FESTIVALS
Provides necessary infrastructure such as
hotel plant and restaurants
Brings a new and expanding clientele of
consumers
Creates an additional season for the music
and entertainment industries
Offer an up-market profile and attract
international media exposure
Provides an extended market for artists
beyond the festival eg. touring abroad

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In the Caribbean, festival tourism has become pivotal to the regions creative economy
and tourism industry, mainly because festivals in the region generate a strong demandpull to their host destinations. Following on the success of festivals such as the Trinidad
Carnival, the Barbados Crop Over, St. Lucia Jazz Festival and Jamaicas Reggae
Sunsplash (now Reggae SumFest), most in the region pursue festival tourism strategies
to varying degrees in an effort to secure positive economic gains. For the most part, the
regions festival tourism product relies on the use of indigenous resources to offer
unique and authentic experiences that would encourage new visitors and repeat visits. In
this regard, community engagement and participation is key and therefore also offers
opportunities for community development; cultural and artistic development; as well as
heritage branding and (re)packaging that would contribute to a viable festival tourism
product.
However, regional festivals have been largely undocumented, and therefore have not
consistently benefitted from an assessment of their impacts. It is observed that the
capacity to consistently and systematically collect data and measure festivals remains
challenged in the region (Tull 2013: 20). This may be attributed to a number of factors
ranging from the absence of a mandate among relevant national agencies and regional
bodies to measure; unfamiliarity with, and to some degree, lack of expertise in festival
assessment; to socio-cultural notions about festivals that suggest they ought not to be
measured and/or should not be subject to assessment because of their primary aesthetic
value to society (Tull 2013; 2011). These challenges would suggest that in the absence
of consistent festival data, a paradigm on the nature and importance of festival impact
analysis is yet to be formally defined within the region.
Festival Economic Impact Literature
Discourse on the significance of festivals may give some guidance in this regard. A
review of this literature shows that festival economic impact analysis constitutes a
major area of study2 (see for example van Wyk et. al. 2013; Bracalente et. al. 2011;
Saayman and Rossouw 2011; Carlsen 2009; Andreeva 2008; Waitt 2008; Baker and

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See Langen, F. and B. Garcia (2009) and Tull, J. (2011) for a comprehensive review of this literature.

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Associates 2007). This body of work tends to focus on identifying the economic
contribution of festivals to its host community (whether local, national or regional), by
measuring specific variables as shown in Table 2, using particular models of assessment
and establishing broad themes of impact. Getz concurs, noting that in a review of
festival studies, of 132 citations examined, some 59 of these focused on economic
impacts with reference to the models multiplier effects and econometric modeling,
and the broad themes of festival tourism and attracting tourists; tourist expenditure;
contributions to economic and regional development; tax effects; [and] displacement
effects (Getz 2010: 10). Notwithstanding the latter, economic impact research mainly
focuses on positive economic gains, with lesser attention being given to negative
impacts - a recently emerging focus within the literature3.
TABLE 2
KEY VARIABLES TYPICALLY USED IN ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDIES
VARIABLES
Theme/Type of festival
Purpose of festival
Duration
Structure of festival organizing body
Patron size
Patron spend
Number of visitors
Demographics of patrons
Demographics of visitors
Purpose of visit
Visitor spend
Spending apart from festival-related items
Medium of transport to festival
Employment generated by festival
Tax revenue derived from festivals
Increased job opportunities
Source of funding
Festival income
Festival expenditure
Construction of new facilities, new infrastructure
Media value
Source: extracted from Tull, J. A Scoping Study: Global Survey on Festivals. Montreal:
UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011.

For further discussion on this aspect of the research into festival impacts, see Tull 2011: 51-56.

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It has been established that economic impact analysis is a good tool for gauging the
value of the festival to the community and the wider national economy (see for example
Irshad 2011; Lind and Gronstad, 2010; Bowdin et. al 2008; Saayman and Saayman
2006; van Heerden 2003; Johnson 1999; Getz 1997) 4. Much of this literature is aimed
at tourism industry development, particularly in terms of justifying how the festival
impacts on the local and wider economy when positioned as a festival tourism product.
Where this is concerned, governments and policy planners often commission festival
economic impact studies in order to document and cite the economic benefits of the
festival to the entire community so as to justify public spend on festivals. It is also
argued that festival economic impact studies can prove the festivals return on
investment, and in so doing encourage greater investment in the festival (Myles et. al.
2012; Nurse 2004). By extension, festival economic impact analysis can help attract
valuable sponsorships and encourage more local businesses to participate. From a
marketing standpoint, it may also be used to discern market research on festival
attendees that may yield valuable information for destination marketing and branding
(Derret 2009). In terms of future planning, festival economic impact studies can provide
benchmarks to track future growth and guide the development of new avenues for
expanding the festival (Nurse 2004).
Festival tourism research has also given impetus to a small, emerging body of economic
impact research on festivals in usually small host locales. These studies tend to focus on
festivals in developing contexts (mainly developing-country urban areas, small island
developing economies, and small rural communities), with the understanding that wider
macro issues can impact on their smaller scale. As Saayman and Saayman (2006: 574)
note for example, in developing countries, contrary to developed countries, the arts are
not high on the national spending priority list due to other basic needs including basic

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There have also been some arguments made against the use of economic impact analysis (see for
example Snowball and Antrobus 2002; Madden 2001; Crompton and McKay 2001). Chief argument
made is the potential of the method to render various forms of bias which might affect the outcome,
including the way the multiplier size is calculated, unnecessary expansion of the traditional impact area,
and the inflation of visitor numbers. . . (Bragge, 2010: 1). However, it has been correspondingly argued
that where economic impact assessments avoid such errors, they are likely to render useful results (Lind
and Gronstad, 2010, and Bowitz and Ibenholt, 2009; Seaman 2003). For a full discussion on the
arguments for and against economic impact assessments, see Bragge, 2010.

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service delivery (water and sanitation), health, and education. Whereas in developed
countries, festivals are generally hosted in state-built performing arts spaces, festivals in
developing contexts tend to utilize existing alternative purposed infrastructure such as
schools, community centers, outdoor savannahs and sporting facilities (Saayman and
Saayman 2006). Thus, in these contexts, festivals have often emerged as a consequence
of artists response to creating their own opportunities for artistic development,
entrepreneurship and financial viability. When the festival takes root, public funding
becomes an important component (Carlsen 2009: 252), and correspondingly, there is
pressure on governments to justify public spending (Carlsen 2009; Mason and
Beaumont-Kerridge 2009). And so, as in the developed world, interest in commissioned
economic impact studies on festivals in these locations is emerging.
Of the relatively sparse festival economic impact literature on developing world
experiences, research on South Africas festival landscape predominates. This literature
mostly features economic impact analyses of festivals in smaller urban areas. It has
been suggested that the preference to analyse such festivals has been influenced by the
well-argued notion that the impact of festival tourism on small locales is more
significant (Rogerson and Visser 2007; Snowball and Antrobus 2002). Thus, economic
impact research has been conducted more notably on the small urban-area festivals of:
Aardklop National Arts Festival based in the Potchefstroom (Slabbert and Viviers 2013;
van Wyk 2011; Kruger et. al. 2010; Saayman and Saayman 2006; van Heerden 2003);
Grahamstown National Arts Festival (Bragge 2011; Kruger et. al. 2011; Snowball et. al.
2011; Saayman and Rossouw 2011; Saayman and Saayman 2006; Snowball and
Antrobus 2003); Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) in Oudstshoorn (Cin van
Zyl 2011, Pacey 2011, Kruger, Saayman and Ellis 2011, Loots et. al. 2011; van Wyk
2011; Saayman and Saayman 2006; van Schalkwyk 2004); and Innibos Arts Festival in
Nelspruit (van Niekerk and Coetzee 2011; van Niekerk et. al. 2009).
Although similarly hosted in small locales, rural festivals appear to be generally
distinguished in the literature as community-based festivals and explored as platforms
for attaining sustainable local development (see for example Robertson and Rogers

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2009; Pickernell and OSullivan 2007; and OSullivan and Jackson 2002). Studies of
their economic impacts suggest that rural festivals can have a direct impact on the
community in terms of creating local jobs; fostering the development of festival-related
services such as public relations, promotions, and artistic directing; encouraging a
strong spirit of volunteerism which can in turn foster community-building; and boosting
business in other local sectors such as catering, sound, stage and lighting, and ticket
printing (Gibson et. al. 2010; Brennan-Horley et. al. 2007; Tindall 2007; Chhabra et. al.
2003; Kim, Scott et. al. 1998; Long and Perdue 1990). Research on rural festival
impacts, however, pales in volume to that on urban festivals (Gibson et. al. 2010; Reid
2007). There is an even greater paucity of literature on rural festival economic impacts.
It appears that the value of rural festivals is seen more in terms of their social and
cultural impacts on the community (Robertson and Rogers 2009; Small 2007; Reid
2007), perhaps due to the pivotal role these festivals play in their respective
communities. Thus, there is greater emphasis on examining socio-cultural, socioeconomic and community impacts within the literature.
Like rural festival economic impact research, festival economic impact analysis
emanating from the Caribbean generally seeks to determine the main direct economic
benefits to be derived from festivals. Studies on Dominicas World Creole Music
Festival (Nurse and Tull 2004), St. Lucia Jazz Festival (Nurse 2004), Cayman Islands
Pirates Week (Nurse and Tull 2003), the Trinidad Carnival (Nurse 2003), and the St.
Kitts Music Festival (Sahely and Skerrit 2003) generally feature data on: festival size;
attendance levels; visitor expenditure; patron spend; revenue generation; government
investment and employment levels. The studies have shown that festivals have a
significant impact on visitor arrivals, airlifts and hotel occupancy rates with spillover
effects on media industries, local transport (e.g. car rentals) and the food, beverage and
restaurant sectors (Nurse 2001: x). Economic impact research has also shown that the
notable growth of the regional tourist market since the 1990s, is largely derived from
regional visitor patronage of festivals such as the St. Lucia Jazz Festival with 39% of
the patrons coming from the Caribbean; Barbados Crop Over (25%); Trinidad Carnival

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(12%-15%); and the St. Kitts Music Festival (30%) 5 . An interesting feature of
Caribbean festival economic impact research is its use of cross-regional data as part of
measuring the economic impact of carnivals. Notably, data derived from economic
impact assessments of Caribbean-styled carnivals, viz. Londons Notting Hill Carnival,
Toronto Caribana and New York Labour Day is used to illustrate the reach and impact
of the Trinidad Carnival beyond its local borders (Tull 2005; Nurse 2003).
Methodology
One of the key issues to emerge from the discussion thus far is that within developing
country contexts there is often a challenge to conduct economic impact exercises. In the
Caribbean for example, the anticipated magnitude of the study and the associated
quantum of resources to conduct them, are among the main obstacles to having
consistent festival economic impact data. Given that economic impact assessments can
comprise several levels of analysis, utilizing (sometimes complex) models of analysis,
as well as a range of methods of analysis6, there is the misnomer in some quarters that a
festival economic impact study is not useful without comprising all analytical
components to render accurate data.
This paper suggests that it is possible to utilise some key components of analysis to
develop a preliminary economic impact analysis that would give indication of the main
benefits and effects to be derived from the festival. This approach is particularly
relevant for those festivals in small hosts locales where the impacts are usually more
direct and more discernable. For the purpose of the study on Grenadas Spice Mas

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Nurse (2004).
Hackbert (2009) proposes that there are five types of economic analyses that can also be used to
effectively evaluate festivals with a high festival tourism value: the input-output model, the most widely
used approach and particularly best for small festivals where there are unlikely to be any structural
changes in the local economy, is used to estimate increase in economic activity associated with money
injection such as visitor expenditure, as well as income and employment opportunities generated by
festivals; tracing spending flows, which is used to identify changes in sales, tax revenue, revenue and
employment attributable to festival tourism activity using visitor spending surveys and secondary data
analysis of data from government economic statistics; fiscal impact analysis, used to estimate revenues
and costs to local government triggered by the festival by tracking changes in demand for government
utilities and services resulting from tourist activity; financial analysis, used to determine the profit
derived, and assess whether the revenues generated by the festival were sufficient to cover its costs; and
demand analysis, used to track how prices, marketing, promotion, competition, quality and quantity of
facilities, and other demand shifters affect the number and types of visitors.
6

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Festival 2011, preliminary economic impact analysis was hinged on three components
of analysis, using three corresponding methods of analysis (see Figure 2). The data
gathering exercise was carried out over a two-month period, and involved three separate
visits to Grenada to administer a visitor exit survey, as well as to meet with key
stakeholders and special interest groups at the national and community level.
FIGURE 2
FESTIVAL ECONOMIC IMPACT MODEL USED IN THE STUDY
Festival Management Audit
government investment into
the festival; festival
programming; organization
and staffing

E
I
A

Sponsorship Evaluation
nature and quantum of
sponsorship attracted by the
festival
Visitor Impact Analysis
visitor profile; length of
stay; visitor expenditure;
satisfaction with the festival

secondary data
gathering: internet
scan, review of
newspaper clippings

primary data gathering:


interviews with key
stakeholders

primary data gathering:


surveys

Limitations
Two notable limitations arose during the study. First, the LIAT pilots strike during the
summer months of 2011 delayed the researchers arrival into Grenada and affected the
training of survey administrators, which had to be abandoned. To address this
limitation, the survey was re-crafted to ensure usability, ease of communication and
comprehension between survey administrators and respondents. Second, the research
process did not capture the hospitality sector, primarily due to a seeming lack of
interest/willingness by this stakeholder group to complete the hospitality sector survey.
Three attempts were made to administer this survey with no success. The final attempt
took the form of email dissemination to specific representatives of the hotel sector,
which did not attain substantial responses.

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The Study Site: The Grenada Festival Context


Like most other Caribbean countries, Grenada has an annual calendar of festivals and
festival events that are unique to Grenada and which reflect the local traditions and
culture of Grenada (see Table 3). The calendar features cultural festivals, religious
festivals and marine sports festivals, with a seeming inclination towards the latter.
Majority of Grenadas year-round cultural events are geared more towards maintaining
and showcasing Grenadas cultural and indigenous traditions, than for the deliberate
purpose of stimulating commercial and economic activity although there is national
interest in this regard. Given the expanding festival tourism product in the region, this
raises the issue as to whether Grenada can seek to build a festival tourism product based
on maintaining an indigenous content and strong local appeal.
TABLE 3
SURVEY OF FESTIVALS AND FESTIVAL EVENTS IN GRENADA
Weekly
January
February

March
April
May
June
July
August
October
December

Gouyave Fish Fridays Street Festival


Annual Port Louis Grenada Sailing Festival
Grenada Bill Fish Tournament
The Horticultural Society of Grenada Flower Show
Annual Port Louis Grenada Sailing Festival
Carriacou Festival
South Grenada Regatta
Work Boat Regatta
Grenada Classic Yacht Regatta
St. Patricks Day Festival
St. Marks Day Festival
Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival (April May)
Grenada Drum Festival
Petite Martinique Whitsuntide Regatta
Fishermans Birthday Celebration
Spice Mas Festival
Spice Mas Festival
Carriacou Regatta
Rainbow City Festival
Spice Mas Festival
Thanksgiving Day
Spice Word Festival
Carriacou Parang Festival

Source: http://www.spiceislander.com retrieved September 17, 2011.

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FIGURE 3
COMPOSITION OF GRENADAS CALENDAR OF FESTIVALS AND
FESTIVAL EVENTS BY TYPE
Heritage
Cultural
Marine
Sporting
Religious
Music

Grenada Spice Mas


This also raises consideration for the significance and potential impact of Grenada
Spice Mas Festival to the Grenadian economy. Like most other carnivals of the
Americas, Grenada Spice Mas Festival was originally held during the pre-lenten
season. However, in 1981 the Festival was shifted to the summer months of June to
August, in order to maximize on the potential benefits to be derived from the festival7.
Notably, the carnival would no longer compete with the more established Trinidad
Carnival. Additionally, having the carnival climax in the month of August was
considered an incentive to Grenadian nationals living abroad to coincide their return for
reunions, weddings, or simply family vacation with the Carnival festivities.
As Table 4 illustrates, Spice Mas Festival comprises a mix of music, heritage and
cultural traditions and carnival arts. It is well known for its jouvert or jab-jab mas and
other traditional village masquerades such as shortknee. The carnival also features
contemporary events - a parade of (mostly contemporary) bands, Soca Monarch and
National Queen Show. These events are usually the responsibility of the national coordinating entity and therefore constitute the official carnival events. Venues used are

7

Notwithstanding, the even more traditional Carriacou Carnival continues to be held in February on the
sister isle.

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predominantly outdoor spaces, mainly the National Stadium and a national savannahtype green space called Victoria Park, while the calypso tents and Queen Show are
staged at privately owned in-door facilities. Spice Mas Festival is showcased over a
period of five- six weeks, climaxing on the second weekend of August.
TABLE 4
OFFICIAL SPICEMAS FESTIVAL EVENTS, ACCORDING TO FORM
Traditional
Spice Mas Launch
Bomb Tune and Pan Competition
Traditional Masquerade Exhibition &
Competition
Calypso Competitions
Panorama
Dimanche Gras
Jouvert
Parade of the Bands

Contemporary
De People Soca Monarch
National Soca Monarch
National Queen Show
Monday Night Mas
Carnival City

A growing feature of the Spice Mas Festival has been the fringe events, which have
been growing in number, almost equating to the official carnival events for the 2011
Spice Mas Festival, there were some 13 fringe carnival events as compared to 17
official

carnival

events.

Fringe

events

can

be

seen

as

piggy-back

cultural/entertainment events put on by private promoters and event managers that


follow the theme of the major/official festival as a means of attracting patrons. Spice
Mas fringe events tend to focus on the more contemporary aspects of carnival
festivities, particularly the music soca and jab, and usually take the form of fetes and
party cruises. This is a common trend in other carnivals across the region, where the
fringe events are usually among the main attractions for visiting festival attendees.

Fringe events are to be encouraged to the extent that they add to the festival
programming and can attract new demographics to the festival. However, it is cautioned
that there must be a collaborative spirit of management and planning between the
government body responsible for the national festival activities and private event
managers. It is critical that fringe events do not dominate the wider festival
programming to the extent that they become the flagship features of the festival for

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visitors as has happened in the Trinidad carnival context. This can result in a shift in
interest away from the traditional and indigenous elements of the festival. At the same
time, it is also critical that the government institution responsible for managing and
planning the national festival programming recognizes its role in this regard as largely
facilitative and not as a competitor in the events business so as not to curtail private
sector enterprise and entrepreneurship within the local creative industries, a positive
spin-off to be derived from the festival.

Festival Economic Impacts: Grenada Spice Mas 2011


Festival Management Capacity
The Grenada Carnival Committee (GCC) has been responsible for the planning,
management and execution of Spice Mas Festival for a number of years on behalf of the
government and people of Grenada until 2012. During its existence, the GCC strived to
mount a strong cultural tourism product and brand, amidst the challenges to woo
significant sponsorship dollars each year and maintain substantial investment from
government for the Festival. The GCC operated as a 12-member sub-committee of the
Grenada Cultural Foundation (GCF), a statutory body created by an act of parliament.
All committee members served as volunteers. As such, the GCC could be best described
as an ad-hoc festival committee with a number of subcommittees drawn from special
interest groups and stakeholders, viz. pan and calypso to oversee a specific set of
festival events.
The GCC also heavily relied on the staff of the GCF to run the Festival in the absence
of paid staff directly assigned to the GCC. Staff was seconded each year from the GCF
to provide administrative support for the execution of the Festival. Led by a Chairman,
the GCC was expected to formulate the Festivals strategy, and spearhead the
implementation of that strategy. However, the Committees transitory structure, lack of
staff and the limited allocation of funds, did not allow for the requisite strategic
management of the Festival.

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The GCC also benefitted from support from a number of other government agencies,
which collectively represents governments investment into festival (see Table 5). For
the 2011 Festival, government investment amounted to approximately EC$627,000, to
cover administrative expenses associated with running the festival, as well as primary
expenses incurred by carnival special interest groups, and GCCs expenses related
managing and mounting carnival events. Based on interviews with key stakeholders it
appears that public sector support is mainly derived from the Grenada Cultural
Foundation, the Grenada Tourist Board, the National Lottery Board, and the
Government Information Service. It was indicated that government investment into the
festival has been declining since 2008, attributed particularly to the prevailing harsh
economic circumstances that have been negatively affecting most small developing
states. While figures as to the worth of each service or manpower were not given, Table
5 gives a picture as to the range and nature of government investment. For the 2011
Festival, the festival received funding from UNESCO to encourage the development of
the carnival arts dimension of the festival. Notwithstanding this new source of income
for that particular year, the Festival continued to operate at a deficit on account of large
expenditures inherited from the 2009 Festival. This requires address if the festivals
ROI is to consistently increase in the years to come.
TABLE 5
GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT ANALYSIS SPICE MAS FESTIVAL 2011
Government
Agency
Grenada Cultural Foundation
Lottery Board
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Grenada Police Force


Grenada Tourist Board
Government Information Service
Ministry of Works
Grenada National Foundation
Ministry of Sport

Form Of
Investment
Cash (subvention)
Cash
Paid for Services:
Equipment & Labour from Chinese Embassy
for stage set up
Provision of Services:
Security at carnival events
Publicity and Marketing
Media Promotion
Road Repairs
Provision of Other Resources:
Secondment of administrative staff
Office space
Discounted rental fee of National Stadium
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It would be fair to suggest that the temporary nature of the GCC urged the formation of
a more permanent organization to carry out the business of carnival. In this regard, the
Spicemas Corporation, a statutory body, was formed by an Act of Parliament to
promote and organize Grenada Spice Mas Festival. The Corporation is managed by a
Board comprising the CEO of the Corporation and eight members who represent the
main stakeholders of the festival. This is considered an important strategic intervention
as such an organisation can be used to solidify the festival brand and product towards
the economical exploitation of Grenadas arts and culture in a sustainable manner.
Sponsorship Impact
The Spice Mas Festival receives a comparative array of corporate sponsorship from the
local business community. For 2011, the GCC received approximately EC$923,292
worth of sponsorship ranging from cash to in-kind (see Table 6). Sponsors of the
Festival span a wide cross-section of corporate Grenada, including a hotel, rum
distillery, and an auto agency. The major sponsor for the 2011 Grenada Spice Mas
Festival was the telecommunications company LIME, which provided EC$500,000 in
cash directly to the GCC, accounting for 53% of total corporate sponsorship (see Table
6). The largest group of sponsors was the retail/wholesale sector which totaled
EC$161,200 and accounted for approximately 16.5% of total corporate sponsorship.

TULL 16

TABLE 6
CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP ANALYSIS FOR SPICE MAS FESTIVAL 2011
Corporate
Sponsors
MEDIA
FLOW Cable Co.
FINANCIAL SERVICES
Netherlands Insurance

Republic Bank
RETAIL/WHOLESALE
Geo F. Huggins

Form of Sponsorship

Publicity/advertising
Production Services
Cash
Rental of big screen
Event Tickets
Catering for VIP Box
Rental of VIP Box
Cash to steel pan orchestra
Cash
Product (tshirts, drinks)

Grenada Bottling
(coke)

Cash
Product

Westerhall Distillery

Cash
Media advertising
Product

Independence Agency
TELECOMS*
LIME
HOTELS
Flamboyant Hotel
AUTO
Sun Motors
Steels Auto Supplies
TOTAL

Cash
Product

Estimated
Value
(EC$)

Total
Estimated
Value
(EC$)

50,000
20,000

70,000

7.6

37,500
12,300
6,500
40,000
1,200
97,500
25,000

122,500

13.2

6,000
41,000
47,000
43,000
20,000
63,000
15,000
10,000
5,200
30,200
17,000
4,000
21,000

161,200

16.5

500,000

53.0

2,592

2.6

Cash
2 rooms
Prize(car duty free)
Cash

2,592
32,000
35,000

67,000
923,292

7.1
100.0

*Telecommunications

Visitor Impact Assessment


Overall, it would appear that Grenada Spice Mas Festival is a strong pull factor to its
host destination. Visitor arrival statistics over the period 2006 to 2011 show that August
month, when much of Spice Mas festivities are held, compares favourably with the
winter season months of any year (see Table 7). With the exception of 2009 and 2010,

TULL 17

August has recorded the highest number of visitor arrivals each year during that fiveyear period. The decline may be attributed to the global recession which negatively
affected travel spend across the globe. The relatively consistent spike in August arrivals
suggests that the Spice Mas Festival has created another tourist season in the calendar
for Grenada. This augurs well for Grenada as it gives opportunity for greater
commercial activity within the hospitality, leisure and wider tourism sectors beyond the
traditional winter season.
TABLE 7
VISITOR ARRIVALS TO GRENADA, 2006 2011
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

2006
11,888
10,490
10,903
11,013
7,656
7,468
10,868
14, 816
5,835
7,415
8,154
12,148

2007
12,514
10,890
10,027
14,386
9,283
8,236
12,351
15,214
6,822
8,304
9,442
11,678

2008
13,333
12,057
13,357
9,859
9,592
10,314
13,294
14,713
5,828
7,994
8,320
11,702

2009
12,987
9,688
9,949
10,451
7,408
7,094
12,025
12,287
5,735
7,894
7,795
10,057

2010
12,063
9,655
10,484
8,035
6,254
6,178
11,429
12,016
5,347
7,947
7,503
9,245

2011
12,270
9,732
10,374
9,757
7,599
8,133
11,789
13,483
5,485
8,269
8,386
11,121

Source: Grenada Tourist Board.

FIGURE 4
AUGUST VISITOR ARRIVALS COMPARED TO WINTER SEASON ARRIVALS,
2006 2011
20,000
18,000
16,000
14,000
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0

August
January
February
March

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011


TULL 18

A closer look at the visitor arrival statistics shows that visitor arrivals during the month
of August also tend to surpass visitor arrivals for the month of February when
Carriacou Carnival is held on the sister island (see Table 8). It is likely that any spike
in tourist arrivals in February can be more attributed to the winter season stay-overs,
spanning the Caribbeans traditional winter season period of December to April. Even
where both months experienced declines as in 2009 and 2010, the month of August
remained in the lead.
TABLE 8
COMPARISON OF VISITOR ARRIVALS TO GRENADA
FEBRUARY AND AUGUST, 2006 2011
February
August

2006
10,490
14, 816

2007
10,890
15,214

2008
12,057
14,713

2009
9,688
12,287

2010
9,655
12,016

2011
9,732
13,483

Source: Grenada Tourist Board.


The visitor exit survey conducted at the close of 2011 festivities reflects corresponding
analysis. This survey was administered at the Point Salines International Airport during
the period August 10th August 19th 2011, after the climax of the Festival. The survey
specifically targeted persons who arrived in Dominica during the period of the Festival
and were polled during their wait in the airports departure lounge. A total of 204
visitors filled out the survey. This approach was utilised in order to capture a snapshot
of the visitor market that coincided with the fetival and to have those polled indicate
their activities and experiences in relation to the festival while fresh in memory. It is to
be noted that approximately 23% of those polled did not attend the Festival.
Of the total number of visitors surveyed, 77% attended Spice Mas Festival. Of this
number (157 visitors), 82% indicated that they timed their visit to coincide with the
Spice Mas Festival (see Figure 5). Moreover, 47% of those attending the festival
indicated that they had attended more than four times, with as much as 37% comprising
first and second-time visitors (see Figure 6). The Festival also seems to be a preferred
choice among the younger age demographics with as much as 37% in the 20s age group
having attended the Festival in 2011 (see Table 9). An overwhelming number of the
attendees (93%) indicated that they will recommend the festival to friends/ relatives,

TULL 19

while some 71% indicated that they will return for the next festival. These statistics give
support to the placement of the festival during the summer months to encourage the
choice of Grenada as a summer destination. The statistics also suggest that Spice Mas
Festival can sustainably foster a repeat visitor market for the destination that can
augment the wider tourism industry.
FIGURE 5
VISIT TIMED TO COINCIDE WITH SPICE MAS FESTIVAL 2011

No response
4%

No
14%

Yes
82%


FIGURE 6
FREQUENCY OF ATTENDANCE AT SPICE MAS FESTIVAL
47%

50%
40%
30%

21%

20%

16%

12%

10%
0%
1

Frequency of Attendance

TULL 20

TABLE 9
VISTING SPICE MAS FESTIVAL ATTENDEES ACCORDING TO AGE, 2011
Age Group
0-19
20-29
30-39
40-49
50-59
Over 60
No response
Total

6%
37%
24%
18%
7%
3%
6%
100

Whereas at other festivals in the region, there has been the growing trend of significant
festival visitor patronage at fringe events, it would appear that for visiting patrons to the
2011 Grenada Spice Mas Festival, official carnival events are still the preferred choice.
As Table 10 shows, Jouvert and Monday Night Mas, which are two of the more
traditional, community-based festival events are the two most attended events by
visiting patrons. Attendance at both events surpassed Soca Monarch, which was
attended by a notably smaller number (57%).
TABLE 10
VISITOR ATTENDANCE AT SPICE MAS FESTIVAL EVENTS, 2011
Jouvert (O)
Monday Night Mas (O)
Parade of the Bands (O)
GCC/ Lime Soca Monarch (O)
White in the Moonlight (F)
Pree Day (F)
Beach Fest (F)
Jab Jab Fete (F)
Peoples Soca Monarch (O)
Dimanche Gras (O)
National Queen Show (O)
Panorama (O)
Pageant Mas (O)
Spice Basket (O/F)
Eat yuh Crix (F)
Concert of Winners (O)
F=fringe carnival event

%
79
74
64
57
43
32
31
27
26
22
17
16
15
11
3
1

O=official carnival event

TULL 21

It appears that the strategy to use the Festival to encourage returnees to Grenada has
also attained some success. Of those polled who attended Spice Mas 2011, almost half
(49%) were returning Grenadians (see Figure 7). Although not captured in the survey,
informal interviews with some returnees revealed that many also used the time to
participate in family gatherings as well as to conduct family business. Moreover, as
Figure 8 shows many respondents indicated that during their stay, they participated in
other forms of leisure that the island had to offer. It is likely that all of these activities
encouraged spending in the wider economy beyond the festival.
FIGURE 7
FESTIVAL ATTENDEES ACCORDING TO REGION OF RESIDENCE
Rest of the
Other Caribbean World
2%
6%

No response
2%
US
35%

Caricom
32%
Europe
1%

Canada
12%

FIGURE 8
FESTIVAL ATTENDEES PARTICIPATION IN OTHER FORMS OF LEISURE
Attractions

36%

Boat Trip
Fishing

12%
4%

Sightseeing

18%

Heritage Tours
Hiking

12%

Attended festival

5%

Scuba Diving
8%

Water sports
0%

5%

10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%

TULL 22

A closer look at place of residence shows that majority of visiting attendees came from
the US (35%), followed by those from the Caribbean, who represented 32% (see Figure
9). Of the Caribbean group, Trinidad and Tobago represented the largest group (20%).
This may be attributed to Grenadas promotional/marketing drive on the Festival in
Trinidad and Tobago via radio, television and the print media as well as its diasporic
linkages to Grenada. Overall, this data is reflective of the now established trends of the
diasporic festival market and the growing inter-regional festival tourist market. The data
is an indicator that both markets have the potential for growth once strategically tapped.
FIGURE 9
FESTIVAL ATTENDEES ACCORDING TO PLACE OF RESIDENCE
UK
10%
Canada
12%

US
35%

Europe
1%

T&T
20%

No response
2%
Rest of the World
2%
Other Caribbean
6%

St Vincent
3%
Barbados
6%

St Lucia
3%

Visitor expenditure represents a critical component of gauging the potential of the


festival to generate spending within the festival economy and in the wider economy.
Overall visitors surveyed spent an estimated ECS$750.60 daily, which covered an
average group of 2 persons, over an average length of stay of 8 to 14 days (see Figure
10). As shown in Figure 11 the main areas of expenditure were accommodation (33.8%)
EC$2,689.20; Spice Mas Events (13.6%) EC$1,085.40; and Other (13.5%) EC$1,080,
which mostly comprised expenditure items for family residing in Grenada as alluded to
earlier in the paper. While not as substantial as these areas, visitors also spent in the
food and beverage sector, the retail sector, the telecommunications sector purchasing
mobile phones and sim cards, as well as on transportation, which included car rentals.

TULL 23

Based solely on the festival visitors surveyed for 2011 (158) and their average length of
stay (11 days) and the average daily expenditure (EC$375.30), it is estimated that the
total expenditure by this group of Spice Mas visitors amounted to approximately
EC$652,271.40.
FIGURE 10
SPICE MAS FESTIVAL ATTENDEES LENGTH OF STAY, 2011

45%
40%
35%
30%
25%
%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%

41%

22%

22%

1-7d

8-14d

15-21d

4%

3%

22d- 1mth

1-2mth

1%
2-3mth

FIGURE 11
FESTIVAL ATTENDEES EXPENDITURE
Sightseeing/
Watersports/
Hiking, 5.60%

Mobile Phones &


Sim Cards,
4.20%

Creative Goods,
4%
Accomodation,
33.80%

Shopping, 6.00%
Food/Beverage,
9.60%

Transportation,
9.70%
Other, 13.50%

SpiceMas
Festival Events,
13.60%

TULL 24

Summary of Economic Impacts and Concluding Reflections


The preceding analysis gives indication that the Grenada Spice Mas Festival can
generate some key economic impacts (see Table 11). It appears that these impacts
directly contribute to Grenadas tourism and wider leisure sectors, and may also trigger
some spin offs in the wider economy as a result of visitor expenditure. The analysis also
suggests that there is opportunity for growth in terms of increased visitor patronage and
visitor expenditure, in spite of uncertainty surrounding bigger government investment,
even with the formation of the Spice Mas Corporation in the subsequent year.
Furthermore, as the analysis shows, sponsorship revenue is notable, and is likely to
remain on par as market interests in the festival continue to expand. In sum, the
Grenada Spice Mas Festival has the potential to be a competitive festival in the
Caribbean context, and, if strategically harnessed and positioned, the Festival can make
a significant impact on the Grenadian economy.
TABLE 11
KEY ECONOMIC IMPACTS: GRENADA SPICE MAS FESTIVAL 2011
AREAS OF
ECONOMIC IMPACT
FINANCIAL

CREATIVE
INDUSTRIES

TOURISM

WIDER ECONOMY

SPECIFIC IMPACTS
Encouraged government investment to the value of
EC$$627,000 comprising cash and provision of services
Generated sponsorship revenue to the value of EC$923,292
comprising cash and in-kind
Created a context for the expansion of the entertainment
industry through fringe events
Create an additional market for the entertainment industry
Generate opportunities for artists exposure, artistic
development and employment
Created a new season in the tourism calendar during August
Encouraged the development of diasporic tourism market and
inter-regional tourism market
Encouraged longer stay-overs
Likely to encourage repeat visits
Generated visitor expenditure total expenditure by the 158
Spice Mas visitors polled amounted to approximately
EC$652,271.40
Encouraged business in other sectors retail,
telecommunications, transportation, food and beverage,
airline
Triggered visitor spending in non-festival sectors

TULL 25

However, there are some underlying macro-challenges that can directly affect the
development of the festival as a successful festival tourism product, which cannot be
overlooked. Notably, rising public sector deficits may limit government investment into
the festival; reduced airlift on account of the LIAT strike may reoccur, thereby affecting
visitor arrivals and curtailing the likely spend in the economy from a reduced visitor
market; the seeming lack of stakeholder buy-in by the hospitality sector can limit
opportunities for further development of the festival as a viable festival tourism product
as well as the expansion of the hospitality sector; and the increasing competition from
Caribbean festivals, which challenges festival organisers to avoid the showcasing of a
generic contemporary-styled carnival. Such challenges, while serious are not
insurmountable.
And so, for the Grenada Spice Mas Festival to effectively contribute to a platform of
sustainable economic development, there is need for a strategizing of relevant critical
success factors to not only capitalise on the emerging impacts but also to mitigate the
challenges. In this regard, three critical success factors are considered fundamental:

Operational excellence, which focuses on getting the quality issues right, is


embodied in artistic excellence, human resource development (e.g. carnival arts
and cultural enterprise training), solid event management, more diversified
income sources, continuous assessment of economic impacts and intellectual
property management.

Stakeholder-interest building, which is to be encouraged through deeper


collaboration among key stakeholders to assure buy-in, coordination and shared
visioning in order to maximize on the potential of the festival.

Market leadership, which is largely about developing market attractiveness and


communicating brand value to carnival tourists, cultural tourists, global media
and other key stakeholders, with its key drivers being aesthetic differentiation,
audience development, corporate sponsorship and deepening media interest.

TULL 26

In essence, the critical success factors should always seek to engender development at
the level of the festival to create a viable festival tourism product that could in turn
consistently contribute to a platform of sustainable economic development for Grenada.

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