EUROPEAN MAS TRADE AND TOURISM MISSION TO TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO EXCEEDS ALL EXPECTATIONS
The Mas Transformation Secretariat jointly with the National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF) successfully concluded their historic European Mas Trade and Tourism Mission to Trinidad and Tobago on May 31 2015, securing multiple business opportunities for Trinidad & Tobago Mas Practitioners. In total, forty-three (43) local Mas Practitioners met with fifteen (15) Senior European Carnival Officials from thirteen (13) European Nations, and inked fifteen (15) agreements for the provision of products and services to enhance European Carnivals & Festivals in the coming months. Similarly, another sixty-one (61) agreements are in varying stages of completion, including a major Inbound Scandinavian Tour for Carnival 2016 to be offered in conjunction with SAS Airlines, Norwegian Air and Caribbean Airlines. This Inbound Mas Trade and Tourism Mission is another tremendous success for the mandate of the Mas Transformation Secretariat and the NCDF, and boasts immediate successes more than five (5) times greater than those experienced during our historic Mas Trade and Tourism Mission to Europe 2014, in Paris - France and Rotterdam - Netherlands.
During May 27 – 29 visiting European Carnival officials engaged in well over 400 Business to Business meetings with local Mas Practitioners including but not limited to; Large, Medium, and Small Mas Bands, Designers, Event Planners, Road Managers, Costume Producers, Kiddie Bands, J’ouvert Bands, Steel Bands and Traditional Character Groups. European countries represented included Portugal, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Serbia, Germany, Macedoniaand Denmark, andvisiting representatives openly expressed keen interest in costume purchases, acquiring skilled labour and management expertise, training workshops for their Carnival Bands, and arranging Carnival / Cultural exchanges. Unfortunately, we unable to facilitate an additional twenty-seven (27) requests for inclusion in the Business to Business Meetings as the two and half days allotted for Business to Business Meetings were highly oversubscribed.
The Mission saw an exciting programme of activities with visiting delegates participating in the grand unveiling of Trinidad and Tobago’s Global Online Portal for buying and selling all things Mas www.carnivalgateway.com, the launch of the Mas Gone Green Carnival Costume Exhibition, and the official Welcome Ceremony for the European Mas Trade and Tourism Mission to Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Lars Algell – Head of Delegation, and Secretary General of the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC) formally addressed the Ceremony and presented special awards to Senator the Honourable Gerald Hadeed – Minister of Tourism, Dr. the Honourable Lincoln Douglas – Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Ms. Vashtie Dookiesingh - Multilateral Investment Fund Senior Specialist - Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Mr. Mahindra Satram-Maharaj – NCDF Chairman, for their sterling contributions to championing the cause of building Mas into a Sustainable Industry for the benefit of all Mas Practitioners.
The European Mas Trade and Tourism Mission also included social events at Invaders Panyard, Trincity Shopping Mall, a reception hosted by Dr. the Honourable Lincoln Douglas - Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, dinner hosted by NCC Chairman Mrs. Lorraine Pouchet, and a touristic day out learning about the rich history of Port of Spain including a tour of world renowned artist Mr. LeRoy Clarke’s private art collection, with onward visit to Maracas Beach for a refreshing swim and dining on ‘Bake and Shark’.
NCDF Chairman Mahindra Satram-Maharaj is extremely pleased that the hard work, and months of planning have borne fruit. According to Mr. Satram-Maharaj, “this is another critical step towards the paradigm shift where the Mas Industry is leveraged to create sustainable livelihoods.” Notably, both the visiting delegation and local Mas Practitioners have expressed gratitude for their inclusion, and satisfaction with the quality of Business to Business Meetings and resulting opportunities for collaboration.
The Mas Transformation Secretariat and the National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF) wish to publicly thank the Ministry of Tourism, the IDB, the Ministry of National Security, the FECC, the visiting European Delegation and local Mas Practitioners for their commitment to making this initiative a success. We especially hail Mr. Lars Algell – Head of Delegation and Secretary General of the FECC International Board for his outstanding support and efficiency in coordinating the team in Europe.
For the second consecutive time in history the Secretariat facilitated Mas Trade and Tourism Mission emphasises that Europe is open for business in the Creative and Cultural Industries. The case is clear, Trinidad & Tobago’s Masquerade Product is a highly sought after trade export with tremendous inbound tourism capacity, and immense potential to generate sustainable livelihoods for artisans throughout the nation. Thus, the Secretariat in conjunction with its partners express profound thanks to all the Mas Practitioners that served as champions of the cause by promoting Trinidad & Tobago Mas to continental Europe.
European Mas Trade and Tourism Mission Delegates pose with local Mas Makers after the morning session of Business to Business Meetings on Friday May 29, 2015. Local Mas Makers included Vance River Roman Catholic School, The Barkarrs, Showtime Mas, Taymo, Point & Click, Triple T and Associates, Just Illusions Mas Camp, and Fantasy Mas.
Ms. Marion Hirche – Germany wearing a costume presented byMs. Martina Cowey during their Business to Business Meeting.
Mr. Andrej Klasinc - Sloveniainspecting costumes from Mary & Jason Mohammed of J. C. Mas Productions during their Business to Business Meeting.
Members of the visiting European Delegation being hosted by Dr. Hon. Lincoln Douglas - Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism.
In the photo from left to right are; Mr. Mahindra Satram-Maharaj (NCDF Chairman), Mr. Dario Diviacchi (Italy), Mr. Miroljub Radivojevic (Serbia), Dr. Hon. Lincoln Douglas (Minister), Mr. Kresten Thomsen (Denmark), Mr. Kyril Manov (Bulgaria), and Mr. Lars Algell (Head of Delegation & Sweden).