Patrons of the Bequia Easter Regatta can expect a greater local cultural presence for 2018, with improved organization of onshore activities and more local sponsors.
At a media launch on Tuesday, February 27, Chris Kaye, chair of the Regatta Organizing Committee, said the 2018 Easter Regatta will be prestigious, since there were massive changes in the planning.
One such change described by Carlos Williams, head of the Onshore Committee, is that more local sponsors will brand the private and committee shows. After last the regatta, patrons complained that foreign sponsors had branded so many of the onshore events that it had appeared not to be a Vincentian event. Williams confirmed that he was aware of the concern and for 2018 Bequia Easter Regatta, local award winning Sparrowâs Premium Rum has joined the list of local sponsors.
Representative of Sparrowâs Premium Rum Phillipa Greaves said it was fitting for them to be a sponsor and they are committed to supporting events that grow tourism in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The other sponsors present were the Ministry of Tourism, Flow, Hairoun Brewery Ltd and Action Bequia.
Williams explained that there is a very exciting onshore package, which includes a Family Fun Day, Bake-Off, a host of private shows, beach volleyball, tug-of-war, cry for nothing competition and many other activities.
He elaborated that the committee had its genesis in 2015 and they were tasked with regulating activities and preserving the culture. He said all existing groups and promoters on Bequia are represented on the committee to ensure that there is a single calendar of activities for the festival.
Minister of Tourism Cecil McKie said in 2017 there was a 7.9 per cent increase in arrivals by yachts.
âThe activities for Easter are very important to us. We know that yachting is one of the major niche markets where tourism is concerned and we ended 2017 very strong. We also had some strong months, the first two months of 2018..,â Minister Mckie said.
Kaye said that on Thursday, March 29, there will be a briefing for the fishing boats and yacht skippers.
He explained that the races will begin on Good Friday, March 30, with two parallel sets of races being run each day for both yachts and fishing boats, up to Monday, April 2.
He said every afternoon over the four-day event, there will be entertainment hosted by the Bequia Sailing Club, with prizes awarded for each dayâs race. Overall prizes will be presented on Easter Monday.
All yachts who pre-register for the regatta by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 25, will receive full clearance waiver on arrival from the Bequia Customs.
The Onshore Committee chair explained that more details on the onshore events would be released.(CB)