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The Pantime Steel Orchestra has seized the opportunity to offer the first-ever Pan Yard Tour to cruise ship passengers in St. Lucia. It is indeed a unique opportunity for the reigning Junior and National Champions to introduce tourists to the history, art and melody of the steel pan, as part of an existing garden tour which starts at Stony Hill.
This tour is scheduled to commence in mid-October. Following the Stony Hill experience, patrons will be taken to the pan yard where they will be briefed on the development of steel pan as an instrument, shown how steel pans are made, will hear a wide range of pans being played and will be taught to play simple tunes.
In preparation for its inaugural tour, the Steel Orchestra identified eleven (11) unemployed young persons, who underwent an intense two-week training exercise, facilitated by the National Skills Development Centre (NSDC). They received national certification at the end of their program.
During the closing ceremony of the programme, participants testified to overcoming their inhibitions and timidity as a result of the training they received. They also confessed that prior to the two-week program they were very “naïve about what a tour guide actually did”. The importance of tour guides in the tourism industry was impressed upon them as they are the keepers of valuable knowledge on the community, the society and the nation.
The Pantime Steel Orchestra, through this project, continues to make a valuable contribution to St. Lucia by generating employment for young persons during the cruise ship season; generating funds to maintain the pan yard’s year round training programs; augmenting funds for both junior and senior player participation in national events; and hosting a successful pan yard tour to showcase the accomplishments of steel pan in St. Lucia.
This initiative was funded by the Caribbean Local Economic Development (CARILED) Project under the guidance of a local economic development project advisory committee (LED-PAC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism & Creative Industries, as part of a larger Gros Islet Town Tourism Enhancement Plan (GITTEP).
This plan seeks to improve the town of Gros Islet’s main attractions, upgrade facilities, increase amenities to attract visitors (day cruise excursionists, residents of nearby hotels, as well as weekenders from neighbouring islands) and encourage the development of our creative industries to increase tourist activity in the town of Gros Islet.
In so doing, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in job creation, employment opportunities and the further sustenance of jobs in the medium, small and micro-enterprise (MSME) sector.
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