COVID-19’s impact on entertainment industry overlooked, Culture Minister says

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By Elisa Graham

Minister of Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, Daryll Matthew, recently made a presentation to the members of the Rotary Club of Antigua, detailing the Financial Impact of COVID-19 on the Entertainment Sector in Antigua and Barbuda.

Matthew, also an esteemed member of this service-oriented organization, made the presentation via the Zoom medium, to approximately 38 persons who included Rotarians, Rotaractors and specially invited guests.

The Culture and National Festivals Minister mentioned that the Colours Fete, the annual signature fundraiser organized by the Rotary Club of Antigua, is just one of the many cancelled events which have negatively impacted the economy of Antigua and Barbuda.

He emphasized that entertainment was not just for persons to revel and have fun but it is a major business and economic driver.

“The economic contribution of the entertainment sector has often been overlooked, under-reported and misrepresented.  The industry impacts a plethora of stakeholders both the obvious and those which may not be that obvious,” Matthew said.

He also made mention of an extensive category of persons and businesses who derive benefits from the entertainment sector and detailed how their incomes have been severely reduced as a result of the current economic crisis associated with the effects of COVID-19.

Matthew further explained to Rotarians, that the cancellation of the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival  was inevitable and added that plans will now be focused on ensuring that the event will be even more memorable and captivating in 2021. He also encouraged organizers of the various social events/ fetes which have been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to use the time to re-group and deliver products that will not only entertain patrons but positively impact the nation’s economy.

“Given the massive and total cancellations of all events and festivals due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all of the stakeholders listed above will suffer catastrophic loss of income totaling millions. It is therefore important that promoters streamline events to ensure greater efficiency and to offer the public increased value for money,” Matthew emphasized.

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