January 2, 2009
Nine Mornings Festival sees increase in visitor arrivals

The annual Nine Mornings Festival, which is indigenous to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is fast outpacing other national festivals with regard to visitor arrivals.{{more}}

Chairman of the Nine Mornings Committee, Michael Peters, told Searchlight that he is seeing a new trend in terms of Vincentians returning home for the December 16th to 24th event.

According to Peters, “December is now the month of highest visitor arrivals. People are now booking their flights and bringing their friends and family home for Christmas.”

There is also an “…upward flow in the number of regional and international visitors,” Peters remarked.

Peters noted that for families, the month of December offers a package where they can participate in Christmas and Nine Mornings activities, whether day or night.

He stated that the various caroling competitions, community lighting ups and concerts offer variety which can be enjoyed by all members of the family.

The cultural veteran also indicated that the Nine Morning celebrations are also attracting regional and international media; which is a great tourism boost for the country.

According to Peters, television crews from CMC in Barbados, W See TV in the United States and BBC London visited these shores to take in parts of the festival.

Over the years, there has been a number of documentaries and television specials on Nine Mornings on regional and international channels.

This year’s edition of the festival saw a number of additions to the event, including a street parade and the introduction of car races, which Peters said were well received by spectators.

He said the traditional events such as cycle races and fun sports such as small goal competitions help to strengthen the festival’s appeal.

“The programming in the rural communities is also expanding. This is a plus for persons who are not able to make to Kingstown. The events in the rural areas are also interesting.”

Looking ahead, Peters said that he would like to see more commercial input into the festival, claiming the Committee received less sponsorship this year.

He also said that he would like to see more of the businesses decorating their premises with lights.

Peters said that his Committee is open to criticisms and comments that can assist in making the festival more sustainable in the future.

“Nine Mornings was a tremendous challenge, so we have to look for ways to continue its growth.” Peters said. (JJ)