Carnival: When Culture Attracts Tourism (2023)

Carnival: The Regional Genesis and Contemporary Status

The promotion and advancement of culture is integral to the work of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Efforts in this regard are focused on promoting the cultural diversity of the region and facilitating exchanges for language learning and cultural immersion to enhance co-operation among the countries and strengthen the process of regional integration.

One of the most unifying events and cultural and creative extravaganza, which is celebrated in the region is Carnival. Carnival finds its social and historic origin in the region and is an expression of culture that encapsulates music, dance, costumes, pageantry and performance. While Carnival is celebrated in various styles and with slightly different names throughout the Greater Caribbean, there is one common interest: the manifestation of a cultural pluralism amongst its participants.

For many of the countries, particularly Trinidad and Tobago, which boasts the Region’s largest Carnival celebration, Carnival or ‘Mas,’ as this festival is commonly referred to, is intertwined into the very fabric of the society and is considered one of the most important cultural exports. However, much needs to be done to recognize Carnival not just as a social event but as an important economic activity.

Industry reports indicate that within the past decades, the Trinidad and Tobago masquerade industry has become one of the flagships of the Carnival business landscape of Trinidad and Tobago. Carnival’s visitor arrivals have grown by 60 per cent since the late 1990s and continue to grow annually. Similarly, Government reports indicate that revenue from Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival exceeds on average US$100 million. The Mas industry also generates significant economic activity in a range of sectors in the local economy such as entertainment, media, hospitality and retail sectors. Additionally, overseas diaspora carnivals generate millions in revenue. Carnival therefore, has grown over the years into a viable and sustainable global economic industry supported by talent, expertise, skills and knowledge that are almost exclusively Caribbean.

On the socio-economic level, Carnival generates business opportunities for singers, song writers, choreographers, costume builders and designers, make up artists and musicians, to name a few. Even more importantly Carnival has driven the growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of which are skills-based services. These range from entertainment services related to cultural art forms such as dance, to the production of local crafts, cuisine, and the display of folk arts such as Lapeau Cabrit (playing of drums lined with goats skins), the orchestration of steel pans (pan playing) and portrayal of ‘traditional carnival characters’.

It is without doubt that Carnival is an important social and cultural event which continues to gain regional and indeed international significance. What is often overlooked by policy makers is the economic significance of Carnival to local economies and businesses. This recognition is needed in order that this valuable and unique facet of the region’s culture can reach its full potential.

A Niche within Tourism

Tourism and culture enjoys a highly symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship.

Culture in its many forms and expressions functions as tourist sites and attractions, which can be both educational as well as entertaining to visitors. Tourism in turn has proven to add value by serving as one of the main driving forces to preserve and strengthen indigenous cultural identity, while at the same time making a positive contribution to social and economic development.

From the perspective of destination competitiveness, culture is an important element of a destination’s uniqueness and appeal. This differentiation is even more important given the increase in competition globally, as well as the changing consumer patterns impacting tourism supply and demand. Among the most direct and tangible expressions of culture are the local patrimonies which are often specific to a particular country, community or social grouping. For sites and attractions of historical and cultural significance, as well as cultural performers and producers of handcrafts, specialty foods and other ‘local and indigenous’ products, the tourist market offers unlimited opportunities. This potential is even more, given that the tourism industry offers a diverse range of sales venues coupled with patrons who are eager for locally-created, culturally-linked products.

Culturism - Exploring the linkages between Culture and Tourism

Research indicates that in the Greater Caribbean region there is need to strengthen the linkages between tourism and culture. This can be achieved by countries placing greater emphasis on developing cultural products and activities while simultaneously showcasing more of the cultural aspects in its tourism promotion efforts.

The strength and appeal of cultural events and festivals as an essential component of the tourism product of a country should not be overlooked. In this regard, the multi-dimensional nature of ‘Carnival’ provides one of the most direct and tangible opportunities for travellers to see and also engage in various aspects of the local culture. For many countries such as Brazil and increasingly Trinidad and Tobago, Carnival has become the ‘main attraction’ (the primary reason enticing a visit to the destination). With this understanding, it is clear that there is need to further explore the potentialities and cross-sectoral linkages generated by Carnivals and other such events, so as to maximise the contribution of the activity to the national economy, while also ensuring that visitors can gain the most from ‘the Experience’.

The following are recommended as possible strategies:

§ At the Local/Community level promote Public-Private Partnerships: Facilitate and promote meaningful opportunities for dialogue and networking to increase collaboration between tourism executives and carnival coordinating committees with interested private sector stakeholders servicing the industry.

§ At the National/Regional level Inform and Engage: Run Public awareness campaigns to inform of the broad benefits of Carnival and develop strategies to increase the benefits of this activity to local communities as a means for employment generation and poverty reduction. Also offer incentives particularly targeted to diaspora communities as well as to enhance intra-regional travel.

§ At the International level Focus on Promotion and Marketing: Raise the international profile and public knowledge of the Region’s Carnivals utilising well-known Local Artists as Cultural Ambassadors. Also, promote the different elements of Carnival and other major festivals to the international travel market to generate interest and awareness amongst the various intermediaries, showcasing the Country/Region as a cultural destination.

The ACS Responds

At the Fifth Summit of the Heads of States and/or Government of the ACS which took place in Pétion Ville, Republic of Haiti on April 26, 2013, the ACS highlighted in the Plan of Action of Pétion Ville, that the historic and cultural patrimony shared by the States and Territories provide a solid basis to develop cooperation efforts. In this regard, the Association expressed its commitment to enhance cultural co-operation among countries by facilitating technical meetings between cultural cooperation units with the objective of strengthening cultural policies in the region; and establishing programs in cultural exchange in the Greater Caribbean.

One of the first initiatives has been the topic of promoting Carnivals as one of the unifying vehicles of cultural expressions across the region, an initiative for which the Association has been outreached by several interested stakeholders in the Member States of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Colombia.

In this regard, there are ongoing consultations with interested parties to explore the possibility to host a Caribbean Carnival Conference which would provide an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and best practises among the national carnival committees and related stakeholders. Additionally, discussions are ongoing in relation to establishing a Network of Caribbean Carnivals envisioned as a public-private partnership forum comprised of the relevant public sector representatives and private-sector stakeholders to include professionals in areas of dress and costume making and design, singers, musicians, instrument craftsmen, choreographers, event promoters and band leaders etc.

The ACS believes that Carnival is an activity which can be used to drive tourism by promoting the Greater Caribbean brand of Carnival and showcasing the Carnival related activities of the countries of the Region. In so doing the benefits to be derived will be the preservation and strengthening of the region’s culture while also contributing more-effectively to the socio-economic development of the Region.


Why is Carnival an important part of culture? ›

One of the most unifying events and cultural and creative extravaganza, which is celebrated in the region is Carnival. Carnival finds its social and historic origin in the region and is an expression of culture that encapsulates music, dance, costumes, pageantry and performance.

What is Carnival in tourism? ›

Carnival tourism is defined as visitation to cultural arts festivals that offer tourists a glimpse of and an opportunity to experience key elements of traditions embodied in the creative arts, music, cuisine, dance, performance and related celebrations.

What is the culture of Carnival? ›

Carnival is a colorful Catholic and Greek Orthodox celebration that encourages participants to indulge in costumes, music, food and libations because it precedes Lent, a time of prayer and penance. In essence, the fun and indulgence of Carnival is replaced by the solemnity and abstention of Lent.

What cultures helped create and influence Carnival? ›

African culture then combined with European influences in a process named creolisation, which resulted in a huge number of varying carnival traditions that featured a cultural blend of dance and music.

What are 3 benefits of carnival? ›

Social benefits - self-esteem; socialintegration; leadership skill development; physical health and healthy habits;education and learning; volunteerism and community spirit; dedication; spreadof the carnival work ethic.

How does carnival bring people together? ›

Carnivals bring people together

With thrilling rides and games, a carnival provides an exciting setting for people to gather. That's why carnivals are perfect for a neighbourhood or community event! Carnival rides like the Sizzler will leave everyone laughing, and are perfect for children and adults alike.

What is carnival short answer? ›

A carnival is a public festival during which people play music and sometimes dance in the streets. 2. countable noun. A carnival is a travelling show which is held in a park or field and at which there are machines to ride on, entertainments, and games.

Is carnival a cultural event? ›

Carnival: The Regional Genesis and Contemporary Status

Carnival finds its social and historic origin in the region and is an expression of culture that encapsulates music, dance, costumes, pageantry and performance.

What does carnival mean to people? ›

“Carnival to me means celebration, culture, and unity” “Unity, togetherness, love, and celebrating” “Carnival means to celebrate a culture bigger and more vibrant than my own…and to express myself through highly detailed Carnival garb”

What are carnival values? ›

Every day, our team on board and ashore lives the Carnival Values: Ensure safe, responsible and secure operations. Warmly welcome our guests and team members to our home, making them feel a part of the Carnival family. Embrace our diversity and be inclusive. Engage by being friendly, smiling and using names.

What is the true meaning of carnival? ›

: a season or festival of merrymaking before Lent. : an instance of merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading. : an instance of riotous excess. a carnival of violence.

Where does carnival culture come from? ›

The festival originated with Italian Catholics in Europe, and it later spread to the French and Spanish, who brought the pre-Lenten tradition with them when they settled (and brought slaves to) Trinidad, Dominica, Haiti, Martinique, and other Caribbean islands.

Why do people like carnivals? ›

Carnivals are nostalgic.

Fun fairs have taken the same basic shape for many decades now. Many people enjoy the atmosphere of a carnival-themed party for just that reason. Carnivals summon up memories of childhood, but also reach into our ancestral memories of fun times throughout recent history.

Who was carnival influenced by? ›

Carnival was a celebration observed by the French plantocracy, as they bade farewell to the flesh with masquerade parties before the Catholic observance of Lent. But African plantation workers also celebrated Carnival with drumology and dance.

What are the economic benefits of carnival? ›

The carnival generates thousands of temporary and permanent jobs before it formally starts, hiring in the process hundreds of local artisans, musicians, costume makers and choreographers.

What can you learn in a carnival? ›

Children have different learning style such as Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Visual learner uses their sense of sight in this carnival. We are able to develop children's creativity, cognitive skill and gross motor skill when they participate in the games provided.

What are the essential features of carnival? ›

Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including events such as parades, public street parties and other entertainments, combining some elements of a circus. Elaborate costumes and masks allow people to set aside their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity.

How do you make a successful carnival? ›

Several months before:
  1. Set the Date - get your Carnival on the calendar as early as possible and reserve a backup date in case of bad weather.
  2. Assess your event location.
  3. Choose Carnival activities, games and prizes. ...
  4. Order prizes and awards.
  5. Solicit sponsorships from local businesses.

How did carnival spread around the world? ›

Carnival traditions spread across the world with the conquistadors and colonist, with France spreading it to New France in North America and Spain and Portugal spreading it to the Americas.

What words describe carnival? ›

synonyms for carnival
  • bacchanal.
  • carousal.
  • circus.
  • conviviality.
  • exposition.
  • fair.
  • feasting.
  • festival.

What are examples of carnival? ›

Time to party! 9 of the world's most spectacular carnivals
  • Rio Carnival, Brazil. ...
  • Notting Hill Carnival, United Kingdom. ...
  • Oruro Carnival, Bolivia. ...
  • Binche Carnival, Belgium. ...
  • Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. ...
  • Cologne Carnival, Germany. ...
  • New Orleans Mardi Gras, USA. ...
  • Venice Carnival, Italy.
Apr 27, 2022

What is carnival explanation for kids? ›

A carnival is a traveling entertainment usually offering rides, sideshows, games, exhibits, and refreshment and souvenir stands. Popular throughout the world, traveling carnivals were especially beloved in American small towns before automobiles gave people access to other entertainment.

What is an example of cultural event? ›

There are a variety of festivals that have to do with culture and can therefore be classified as cultural events. For example, music, theatre or dance festivals.

What is carnival used to celebrate? ›

Carnival (Carnaval in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries) originated as a pagan festival in ancient Egypt to say goodbye to winter and welcome spring. However, today's celebrations evolved from Alexander the Great, who adopted the festival after he conquered Egypt and overlaid it with Christian meanings.

What are the benefits of carnival for kids? ›

Carnival culture is one of the most important things that help children feel good about their school and place in the world. Carnivals help to create a sense of excitement and fun in the community, and they help to inspire students to work hard and have fun.

What is another word for carnival like event? ›

In this page you can discover 46 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for carnival, like: fair, celebration, fete, street fair, revelry, carousal, wassail, masquerade, carousing, bacchanal and heyday.

Does carnival have a theme? ›

Theme Nights are part of the fun onboard and feature on all Carnival cruises: 2, 3, 4 & 5 night cruises will have one 80s Rock'n'Glow Deck Party. 6 night cruises or longer on Carnival Splendor include 80s Rock'n'Glow, White Night and Island Theme Night.

What is the greatest carnival in the world? ›

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nobody throws a party quite like Brazil, and there's no Brazilian party quite like Rio Carnaval. It's the world's largest Carnival celebration, attracting participants in the millions for a week of explosive, flamboyant, samba-shaking fun.

What is the difference between carnival and a fair? ›

In summation – carnivals are small, often traveling, and focus on entertainment. Fairs are larger, often community-sponsored, and feature competitions as well as elements of carnivals.

What is a carnival person called? ›

Carny, also spelled carnie, is an informal term used in North America for a traveling carnival employee, and the language they use, particularly when the employee operates a game ("joint"), food stand ("grab", "popper" or "floss wagon"), or ride ("ride jock") at a carnival.

Where did carnival originate and what was the purpose? ›

The historical origin of Carnival is also obscure. It possibly has its roots in a primitive festival honouring the beginning of the new year and the rebirth of nature, though it is also possible that the beginnings of Carnival in Italy may be linked to the pagan Saturnalian festival of ancient Rome.

What does Carnival mean to Caribbean people? ›

Today, Carnival is an act of celebration for freedom throughout the entire Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora across the world where people celebrate their culture and remember all the pain that their ancestors endured.

Why do festivals make people happy? ›

The major reason the festivals bring happiness and joy is the conditioning of the mind. Since birth, our mind is sync with all the known festivals for joy, celebrations, and togetherness. Festivities encourage a response in our mind regarding celebration, happiness, forgiveness, becoming spiritual, and much more.

When did carnivals become popular? ›

Through most of the 19th century, rural North America enjoyed the entertainment of traveling shows. These shows could include a circus, vaudeville show, burlesque show, or a magic lantern show. It is believed that the 1893 Chicago World's Fair was the catalyst that brought about the modern traveling carnival.

Where is the Carnival Inspiration? ›

In July 2020, Carnival sold Carnival Inspiration, along with her sister ship Carnival Fantasy.
Carnival Inspiration.
Carnival Inspiration in Tampa, Florida
NameInspiration (1996–2007) Carnival Inspiration (2007–2020)
OperatorCarnival Cruise Line
Port of registryPanama City, Panama (1996–2000) Nassau, Bahamas (2000–2020)
25 more rows

How many countries celebrate Carnival? ›

Carnival is celebrated in over 50 countries, each with its own unique traditions and events. Celebrations are typically marked with parades, colorful costumes, live music, and festive dancing and can last more than a month.

What are some economic impacts of festivals and carnivals? ›

The key direct economic impact: Direct injections of 'new' money into the community. Direct expenditure: All expenditures that festival visitors incur related to the event. Indirect impact: Additional input purchases made by local businesses as a result of the direct impact.

What are the benefits of working for carnival? ›

At Carnival, we value our team members highly and reward them with fantastic benefits, including free room and board, paid flights to and from your home airport, paid rehearsal time, career growth opportunities, and more.

What are the positive economic impacts of cruise tourism? ›

According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the cruise sector supports 1.2 million jobs and contributes US$150 billion to the global economy every year.

What is importance of fairs and festivals in the culture? ›

Fairs and Festivals are cultural celebrations that have always occupied a special place in society. The earliest festivals in human history were related to plentiful harvests or celebrating the important occasions of regions or communities. They contribute to the overall well-being of communities.

Why is it important to celebrate cultural events? ›

Cultural celebrations foster respect and open-mindedness for other cultures. Celebrating our differences, as well as our common interests, helps unite and educate us. To understand other's perspectives, to broaden our own, and to fully experience and educate ourselves.

Why is Carnival important to the Hispanic community? ›

Rooted in Roman Catholic traditions, and brought to the New World by European colonists, Latin American countries adopted Carnival celebrations at the same time as they imbued them with a particular style and atmosphere, although all sharing spirited dancing and music.

Why cultural events are important? ›

Most of the cultural activities are performed in groups thereby helping the students to develop a better understanding of the people around them. Interaction with other students belonging to different background helps in the development of interpersonal skills.

Why are festivals important in tourism? ›

Festivals are also a prime opportunity to get to know the local culture and experience the essence of the place. During the event, visitors have a unique chance to interact with the local community, gaining a deeper experience of the ambience, customs and local culture.

How do fairs and festivals promote tourism? ›

Festivals and fairs are the best place to participate in the cultural spectrum of our country. Both in terms of inbound and domestic travellers, there is an increasing interest due to exposure and global awareness about the cultural aspects of India.”

Are festivals and important part of our culture? ›

Festivals are a part of our culture. We have grown up around them and have embraced them as a part of our lives. India is known for its various colourful festivals that are celebrated all around the year. Festivals are not just celebrated for cultural or religious reasons.

What are the benefits of cultural activities? ›

Importance. The cultural activities enhance the confidence level for students, which allow students to perform better. Activities will develop the personality for students and assist the students for good career.

How do we celebrate our culture? ›

Share delicious meals or start a cooking class to share your ethnic cuisine. Teach your traditional dances. Invite people to festivals, art shows, or other events related to your cultural background. Share historical information.

What is the most important thing in Hispanic culture? ›

Latino families show warmth through hugs and this extends beyond just family members but to anyone who is invited to their home or their social circle. Family is the most crucial above all else and Latinos put family ahead of just about everything else.

What are the values of cultural activities? ›

Cultural participation offers exposure to multiple viewpoints, experiences, and ideas beyond those of their immediate social circle. As a result of this, cultural participation contributes to greater tolerance, openness and respect for others, and the reinforcement of democratic principles and values.


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