Tag Archives: Chris Pickard

Returning to the Critical Divide

7 Aug

With a change in the direction of the wind Christopher Pickard, just like Mary Poppins, has decided that the time has come to move on to the next challenge and in October he will return from the South Atlantic Island of St Helena, where he has been director of tourism since 2015, to the UK and Critical Divide.

Chris has chosen not to extend his contract as director of tourism for St Helena when it ends in late September. In his view St Helena Tourism is now well positioned to handle the arrival of tourists in greater numbers once the scheduled air services begin later in the year from South Africa. The key going forward, he says, is for St Helena and its residents to embrace tourism and the arriving visitors, and offer them the best possible experience at a level that today’s international tourists demand and expect, while keeping true to the island’s rich heritage.

“Since my involvement with St Helena we have, despite the delay to the start of scheduled flights, been able to position the island as an exciting new destination with leading tour operators, the media, and the more adventurous travelling public. St Helena is now much less of a secret than it was when I landed in 2015,” explains Chris. “By the time I leave, St Helena Tourism and the entire Enterprise St Helena team will be prepared for the arrival of visitors by air as we continue to fine tune what the island has to offer and can offer in the future. The next step is to start to close potential sales with the final consumer and the tour operators who have been waiting on the start of air access. I have always believed that it is the Saints themselves who are best suited to this role of selling and promoting the island.”

Chris will continue to watch with interest the developments on St Helena from a tourism and economic development perspective, and he looks forward to catching up with his firends and colleagues from St Helena Tourism at up coming travel shows and events.

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Chris Pickard sets sail for St Helena as Director of Tourism

3 Sep

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Christopher Pickard has been appointed as the new Director of Tourism for St Helena. Chris will be on a two-year contract, and will take up his post on arrival at St Helena on 14 October 2015.

Chris will be working with Enterprise St Helena and the Tourist Office and will build on the work already started in expanding, developing and enhancing St Helena’s tourism industry to be on par with best practices globally and for the benefit of the Saint community, the tourism sector and investors alike.

St Helena Rio

Chris said of his appointment:

“The opening of the Airport and start of scheduled flights next year will mark the beginning of what should be a new and very exciting chapter for St Helena. I am honoured and delighted to have been chosen to play my small part in this developing story and will be trying to help St Helena and its residents to build and create a sustainable travel and tourism sector – a sector that should bring very real and tangible benefits to the majority of the Island’s population.

“I look forward to learning about everything that the Island currently offers to its residents and its visitors and, in conversation with Saints, I want to understand how they would like St Helena to develop. By applying my global travel experience and contacts, I will then aim to achieve these objectives through tourism.”

Island Sattelite

Chris is former chairman of the Latin American Travel Association and is a founder and trustee of its charitable foundation. He set up the Brazilian government’s first overseas tourist office, and has been the director of communications for the World Travel & Tourism Council. In his career, including with Critical Divide, he has worked very closely for and with a number of tourist boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies, destinations, as well as tour and ground operators.

He has also written extensively about travel and tourism and has authored and contributed to a number of guidebooks and travel publications.

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Variety reports on Critical Divide’s activities at Festival do Rio

18 Oct

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Critical Divide’s Chris Pickard, a veteran not only of Brazil but also of the Rio Fest and RioMarket, has unveiled a bevy of Brazil-based projects under the banner of The Sound of Brazil.

Pickard, who was responsible for the original idea and for co-producing Julien Temple’s “Rio 50 Degrees,” which has screened at the Festival, told Variety he aimed to have most of the slate ready to air in 2016, the year of the Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games. He is hopeful some may even be ready for 2015, when Rio celebrates its 450th anniversary.

The season of music documentaries and performance films is being developed with the BBC in the U.K., and other international broadcast partners. Films look to build on the growing cultural partnership that started to develop between Brazil and the U.K., and especially Rio and London, during the 2012 London Olympics.

With the ever-closer cultures of Brazil, the U.K. and Europe in mind, a first project comprises a three-part series looking at the evolution of musical culture – and dance- in Brazil from the arrival of the first missionaries to the very latest sounds and musical talent. For the U.K. and certain international markets the programs will be presented by Katie Derham, the face of classical music at the BBC as well for the BBC Proms. Derham, like Pickard, has long-standing family ties with Brazil.

Partnering Derham and Pickard in developing the season are James Joseph of Creedence Productions , a highly respected and well-connected music and entertainment lawyer whose management company, with offices in London and Los Angeles, looks after Nina Simone, Cleveland Watkiss, Cassandra Wilson and Julian Joseph, amongst others, and Mark Barrett, ex-head of Classical Music at BBC Worldwide Music and previously Classical Manager Europe at Sony Music Entertainment.

A number of Joseph’s clients have toured Brazil and worked with Brazilian artists in Brazil as well as in the U.S. and Europe. He has also filmed programs and projects in Brazil with Fernando Meirelles and O2 Filmes.

One of those larger projects, which Joseph expects to have wide international appeal, is a special “homecoming” concert in Rio de Janeiro for musician Sergio Mendes. It would include many leading international and Brazilian names that have collaborated with him over the years, including talent featured on the soundtracks of Fox’s animated films “Rio”. There will also be a full standalone documentary about Mendes who was the artist who took Brazilian music global in the 1960s, and is often better known internationally than in his own country and city.

“We hope to stage the concert in 2015 as part of Rio’s 450th anniversary celebrations and then have the programe and documentary ready to broadcast in 2016 which will be the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sergio Mendes, plus Brasil’ 66 by Herb Alpert,” Pickard explained.

Also on the slate is a program about Brazilian baroque music with Harry Christophers and a Brazil Sixteen; a look at the club scene in Rio, São Paulo and Salvador its sounds in “Brazil: Shaken and Stirred…with a Twist of Hackney”; and a docu exploring how musical talent is fostered in Brazil: “From Tin Cans to Strings.”

The most ambitious part of the slate turns, however, on a program series is a series that will introduce and showcase Rio’s Carnival parade by parachuting six major international names into the city’s iconic event to mirror certain elements of the parade.

Pickard first developed the project with the late Gus Dudgeon, Elton John’s producer for many years, who realized there was no accessible TV title to capture a larger audience and explain what actually happens in artistic terms with the parade. As Dudgeon noted, Carnival is more spectacular than any rock show he had seen, even Elton’s.

“I have been involved with carnival for over 30 years – so I have form in this department,” Pickard says.

“It is now a question of getting our final ducks in a row before more details can be unveiled as it requires a somewhat complex relationship of working not only with the Mayor’s office in Rio, but also the League of Samba Schools and TV Globo that so brilliantly film the parade to broadcast live over two nights to Brazil.

He added: “This program, I can promise, will help open the eyes of the world to what an astonishing and creative event the parade is. Our stars are also going to have a lot of fun along the way and they will be the catalyst to build a large global TV audience.”

If Pickard and the team can get everything to align, they will look to film during carnival 2016 and have the edited shows ready for broadcast prior to the Rio Olympics that open on Aug 5 2016.

Pickard held meetings related to the project while at the Rio Festival.

Ronnie Biggs’ “Keep on Running” is published on Kindle

7 Aug

Keep On Running 2014

To mark what would have been Ronnie Biggs’ 85th birthday on 8 August 2014, his first and only novel, Keep on Running, has been published on Kindle by Critical Divide and Mpress for the first time.

Keep on Running is a novel that draws on the true events surrounding the Great Train Robbery. It gives a dramatic account of what may have happened to the three men at the track who were never caught or charged. It covers their lives before, during and in the years immediately after the robbery in August 1963. It also features the shadowy character known to people on both sides of the law as the Ulsterman, and provides a dramatic solution to the puzzle as to whether or not there was a shipment of jewels on board the train and, if there was, why the owner never came forward.

The book is Ronnie Biggs’ only novel, although he was very active in writing both poetry and lyrics, most famously for the Sex Pistols and Die Toten Hosen. He had also been involved in writing the screenplay for the film Prisoner of Rio.

Ron was invited to write a novel by Bloomsbury, the original publisher of his autobiography Odd Man Out. The invite came after that book had become one of Bloomsbury’s top sellers in 1994, and in fact, of all time. The publisher asked for a follow‐up novel and suggested to Ron that he should base it around the Great Train Robbery, as that is what he was best known for and what his fans would want.

As was noted at the time: “With Keep on Running, Britain’s most lovable rogue has produced a gripping, imaginative and highly entertaining novel.”

The Kindle version of Keep on Running: A Story from the Great Train Robbery  is available globally direct from your local Amazon or Kindle store.

Critical Divide’s Brazil and World Cup web sites register over 200,000 visitors

15 Jun

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On the fourth day of the 2014 World Cup, two web sites produced by Critical Divide, braziltheguide.com and worldcuptheguide.com have between them been visited by more than 200,000 people. The target was reached on 15 June 2014 at which point the Brazil guide had received nearly 116,000 visitors and the World Cup guide over 84,000 visitors.

For people who might need text versions of the sites to refer to when travelling or are off-line, Critical Divide has also produced two low cost Kindle text versions that are available across the world from the respective Amazon sites.

Christopher Pickard steps down as chairman of LATA

2 May

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Critical Divide’s Chris Pickard is stepping down as the chairman of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) and from the association’s executive committee, a body on which he has served for 14 years, nine as deputy chairman and two as chairman. He will step down after the new LATA Executive Committee – which will be elected at the association’s AGM on 19 May – meet and choose the new chairman and officers.

“I thought that if Sir Bruce (Forsyth) had decided to call time on Strictly, it might also be a good time for me to exit stage left from LATA and samba off into the sunset,” Pickard joked. “Happily we don’t have any conscious uncoupling to do as I will still be around and the new chairman and officers can call on me at anytime if I can be of assistance to LATA or the membership. I will still be a member, if they will have me, and a trustee of the LATA Foundation.”

Pickard, who lived and worked in Brazil for 20 years, steps down at a time when LATA is registering record membership levels and revenues, and on the eve of Experience Latin America, a major new b2b show that is being launched by LATA on 16 June.

With LATA, its membership and finances in rude health, Pickard says he has no doubts that the new chair and executive committee will be able to continue the work of modernising and expanding the association and says that Experience Latin America will take LATA to a new level within the industry as the association will effectively control the major European based Latin American focused travel trade event.

Pickard said he felt he could step down now because LATA is in such good shape, and because he accepted that he needed to commit more time to other projects that were not LATA related. A film he developed and co-produced, “Rio 50 Degrees”, directed by Julien Temple, will air shortly on the BBC, while his web sites braziltheguide.com and worldcuptheguide.com have proved very popular with travellers heading to Brazil for the upcoming World Cup.

Pickard says he makes no claim to any legacy at LATA, although he did expand the executive committee and encourage the Latin American and overseas members to have a greater voice within LATA. He also helped establish the annual LATA reception with the All Party Parliamentary British-Latin American Group as a key date in London’s Latin American calendar. In recent years the event – which is held in the Palace of Westminster and attended by most of the Latin American ambassadors in London – has seen LATA’s annual Media Award presented to Michael Palin, Lily Cole and Jonathan Dimbleby.