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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Ministry is aiming to cut the massive number of imported art and craft items, by empowering Jamaican artisans.
  • Addressing a Craft Enhancement Project Recognition and Awards ceremony on July 12, at the New Kingston Business Centre, the Minister said the Government will be placing more emphasis on the development of the creative talents, with the introduction of Artisan Villages as well as an Institute of Craft Development.
  • Mr. Bartlett said the objective is for artisans to be able to accept designs from visitors upon their entry to the island and be able to complete the piece by the time the visitor is ready to depart.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Ministry is aiming to cut the massive number of imported art and craft items, by empowering Jamaican artisans.

Addressing a Craft Enhancement Project Recognition and Awards ceremony on July 12, at the New Kingston Business Centre, the Minister said the Government will be placing more emphasis on the development of the creative talents, with the introduction of Artisan Villages as well as an Institute of Craft Development.

“We will be working with the Edna Manley School of Art, creating a relationship, while we build out the Institute of Craft Development,” Minister Bartlett said.

He pointed out that discussions are ongoing with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) about construction of the institute and its facilities in Ocho Rios, which should be ready and operational by 2018.

In addition to this development, the Minister said the Artisan Villages will be “one-stop locations” for the creation and production as well as the merchandising of craft items. Also to be included are food and entertainment.

The villages, for which designs have already started and funding identified, will be located in Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay. He noted that Falmouth should be completed in this fiscal year.

Mr. Bartlett said the objective is for artisans to be able to accept designs from visitors upon their entry to the island and be able to complete the piece by the time the visitor is ready to depart.

Additionally, the Minister noted that the artisans will have the opportunity to market directly to the cruise-ship visitors through audiovisual presentations.

The Minister said that a Coordinator has already been assigned to the projects from the Tourism Development Product Company (TPDco).

In the meantime, Mr. Bartlett said that a crucial component to strengthening the subsector is to streamline and formalise it. He discouraged informal and disorganised displays of craft items.