JIS News

The Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) through its retailing outlet, Things Jamaican, will showcase the work of 15 of the island’s leading artisans at the Houston International Festival (IFEST), which begins on April 21.
The range of products to be displayed include knitted and glass items, aromatherapy, clay, ceramic and wood products.
Purchasing and Marketing Officer for Things Jamaican, Helen Watt, told JIS News that the JBDC team would not only represent the artisans, who are not able to attend but “will provide an opportunity and a market” for their products.
She noted that six artisans would be among the JBDC team that would be attending the festival. These artisans, she noted, “will be doing demonstrations and showcasing their products in our booth.”
Mrs. Watt said the team would also visit Houston schools to highlight and showcase Jamaica’s craft and culture and to distribute souvenir items.
An annual event organized by the non-profit group, Houston Festival Foundation Inc., the festival is designed to foster goodwill with other countries in an effort to stimulate international trade.
This year, Jamaica was selected as the featured destination with a slew of activities celebrating the country’s rich arts and cultural heritage during the week ending April 30.
Jamaica’s contingent to the festival comprises a multi-faceted group representing business, promotional and cultural interests and include representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture; the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB); the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO); the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC), and Walkerswood Caribbean Foods.
Several of the country’s performing artistes have been invited to participate in the event including Morgan Heritage, the Skatalites, Burning Spear and Stephen Marley, the ASHE group, Blue Glades Mento Band and A.J. Brown.
According to Deputy Director of Tourism, David Shields, the event presents an excellent opportunity for Jamaica in terms of the tourism marketing possibilities. “Houston has been a growing market and we believe the staging of the event, at this time will support our marketing effort into the summer period,” he noted.
He added that ‘brand Jamaica’ would be strengthened tremendously when residents and visitors to Houston get the opportunity to be a part of the Jamaican experience.
“This (the festival) will also strengthen the destination Jamaica component of our tourism work where we focus on Jamaica as the tourism destination,” the Deputy Director emphasized, adding that, “with our tourism partners, we will be able to present the diversity of Jamaica’s offering in accommodation as we promote the various attractions that Jamaica has to offer.”
The Houston Festival Foundation was established in 1971 to celebrate Houston’s role as an international city. Since 1988, a different country or region has been given primary focus because of the increasing awareness of the growing diverse population in the fourth largest city in the USA, which also has a fast growing Jamaican population.

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