At the 20th Annual Costa Maya Festival opening ceremonies this past week, committee member Milo Paz gave the entire public of San Pedro and Belize a Wake Up Call. “Costa Maya is not about us and profits for the committee,” said Milo Paz. “It is about the entire community and how it participates. We have a few main objectives which are: (1) to provide good entertainment (2) to generate good business for everyone during the slow tourism season, and (3) to be able to pay our bills at the end of the festival.”
The Costa Maya Festival Committee feels satisfied that they are committed to doing its part but is concerned and in a sense disappointed that the wider community is not. The committee points out that all hotels in San Pedro registered 100% occupancy during the festival. This indicates that very good business was generated for everyone, including hotels, bars, discotheques, restaurants, gift shops, stores, boutiques, and businesses in general. However, the number of sponsors to help curb expenses for the committee in hosting artists and delegates is not coming at full potential as in the past.
With lower participation in sponsorship the committee is obliged to look for slightly less costly artists for its international night. This then translates into lower enthusiasm and lower attendance to all nights of the festival. With lower participation from the audience and spectators and concert lovers, then there is lower income generated and consequently Costa Maya Festival might have to tone down its festival to a one day event or discontinue it totally.
The wakeup call is for more sponsorship from all business, as well as the corporate grand sponsors who have cut down on their contributions. There is a call for residents and visitors to prepare well in advance and patronize the event by buying season passes thus giving full participation, financially and in building morale. The festival brings major income to all businesses on the island during at time with things are slow. Costa Maya weekend is as big as Easter weekend on the island and students see it as a summer break of sorts before heading back to school. All this adds up to profits for everybody who rides the “Costa Maya train” and uses its name to publicize their events and specials. A little bit back from the business community would ensure the longevity of the festival and even more profits for everybody.
In the past other troubles such as counterfeit tickets, bad weather and cancelled mechanical rides have plagued the festival. This year the committee made some critical adjustments and is happy to announce that the festival was a financial success, thought the level of attendance was notably lower than years past. Such changes include providing free mechanical rides as the committee wanted the families to bring their children to the festival (this was a $20,000 investment) and the addition of a second international artist to the festival. They might not have been the big stars but nevertheless they were good shows; Los Pasteles Verdes was a hit and Kevin little was well received.
The number of sponsorship has been the same throughout the years and the festival seems only supported by a faithful handful of businesses which the committee members now call partners and thank them very much for their continued support.
The cost to run the festival increases with the times and people demand more entertainment and even bigger international artists. This can only be achieved with the support of everybody and all businesses on the island that benefit from the festival every year. It is estimated that at least about $1.5Mil circulated the island for the festival weekend. All of us are asked to heed to this “Wake Up Call”. Let’s all give a helping hand to the Costa Maya Festival next year and we will surely see a bigger boost is business for everybody to gain from.