KINGSTON — Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett, has announced that five Artisan Villages will be constructed over the next five years in resort townships, at a cost of $5 billion.
Mr. Bartlett said that the villages will be built in Montego Bay, Falmouth, Port Antonio, Negril and Ocho Rios.
Construction of the Artisan Village in Ocho Rios moved one step closer to reality on Thursday August 25, when designs for the facility were unveiled to tourism stakeholders in the area.
During a tour of the proposed site of the village on Milford Road and Main Street, Ocho Rios, Mr. Bartlett said that some $1 billion would be spent on that project. The village is envisaged as a ‘one stop’ venue for authentic Jamaican food, music, heritage and craft”, as it is believed the current craft market concept in Jamaica is inadequate to showcase and sell the Jamaican experience to visitors.
According to Mr. Bartlett, one of the features of the village is that it will give visitors, and locals alike, an opportunity to challenge the creativeness of local artists, “from whom they will be able to get art products which are truly authentic to Jamaica, and which will be designed right there in the village."
Mr. Bartlett said the village is aimed at giving Jamaican artists and craftsmen “an avenue to expose and express their creativeness”, while playing a meaningful role in reducing the volume of imported craft items now being sold in the industry.
“We are seeing too many goods in our craft markets which are made elsewhere, and Artisan Villages will be built across the island to ultimately put an end to that practice,” he stated.
He said that, on completion, the Artisan Village will be the main area for craft traders, as the Government will be moving to reduce the number of craft vending areas across the resort areas.
“These vending points sometimes give our visitors security concerns, but once we can get the villages up and going, security should not be an issue, especially in Ocho Rios, as cruise visitors will be able to visit without hassle,” he said.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor