Sun | Jul 12, 2020

Growth & Jobs | Kamal banking on entertainment industry for economic growth

Published:Monday | March 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer

Pointing to his own Dream Weekend festival, which showed that the average person spends US$350 per day, Kamal Bankay, entertainment entrepreneur, is convinced that with strategic investments and the right support, Jamaica can experience tremendous economic development through the entertainment industry.

The businessman and director of Xodus Carnival, in discussing the business side of entertainment, said events always create avenues which benefit a number of sectors in society.

"When the JTB (Jamaica Tourist Board) did a survey in 2017 looking at the per person spend at Dream, they said that the average person spend 350 US per day. There are about 15,000 persons in Negril, so when you do the calculation it is significant. The economic benefits are huge," he said.

"Where it gets interesting is as it relates to the multipliers. You have to pay for your generators, you have to hire a security company, you might be including some sort of food item during the event, so we are looking at the food industry. You are touching maybe 20 different industries when you are putting on an event," he continued.




The businessman added, "Let's take Dream Weekend, for example, the consumer is spending on a ride to get to Negril, half of the money they spend is spent on hotels, then you have the bus drivers who take them from their hotels to the event, so there is a whole lot of economic activity."

Bankay also noted that there could be better collaboration between the formal business sector and the entertainment industry.

"The formal business sector doesn't understand the entertainment industry, in my estimation, and I believe there is a lot of work that needs to be done from the entertainment industry side to make the formal industry understand and appreciate the craft. There are those in the industry who don't understand how impactful their products are," he said.

He advised youngsters wanting to venture in entertainment that they must be willing to make sacrifices and be strategic in order to see major success.

"At 21, I was hosting mega events catering to 5,000 -6,000 people. I'm not seeing any 21-year-olds right now doing that, which is unfortunate because it's not for a lack of us publishing our stories and highlighting what we do.

"You can't develop that major product unless you dedicate your entire life to it and make sacrifices. You are talking about working up to 18 hours per day. I believe that until we work with the universities a little bit more to formalise these programmes, there will not be that major development of the industry," he declared.