Jamaica's first artisan village 75 per cent complete, says Bartlett

Observer West reporter

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica's first artisan village which is being constructed at a cost of US $5.7 million in the burgeoning tourism town of Falmouth, is three-quarters complete, and is projected for full completion in time for the start of the 2019/20 winter tourism season.

"Trelawny is poised to be the site for the construction of Jamaica's first artisan village, which is 75 per cent completed. The intention is to have this facility ready for the start of the traditional winter tourism season," Bartlett said during a tour of the project at the historic Hampden Wharf in Falmouth, Trelawny last week.

President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson, argued that upon completion, business generated at the facility will provide the opportunity to augment the retention of the tourist-spend, which has recently increased to 40.8 per cent.

"We have increased our visitor spend to 40 cents per dollar, we want it to go up. We want it to continue increasing and possibly go up to 50 cents. So that's the whole target," Robinson said.

Bartlett concurred with the JHTA president.

"It is the third element of our policy strategy for retention of the dollar. Because we have been talking about how do we keep the US dollar earned by the tourists here in Jamaica. And, a lot of people talk it, but you have to strategise, you have to develop ways of ensuring that two key elements come together, one access, and two, equity," the tourism minister stated.

The project sits on 1.6 hectares of land along the historic Falmouth Port and is being executed by the Port Authority of Jamaica and the Urban Development Company.

It will have 47 shops along with the establishment of the artisan village which will accommodate 18 shops on 540 square metres.

“This artisan village is critical in our reimagining exercise where we are providing opportunities for entrepreneurship at the very base of the population. Tourism will be made more meaningful to the average Jamaican when access is provided for income generating activities and also for creative production.

This is a new and exciting opportunity for various levels of producers in the country that we have not paid enough attention to and not provided arrangements for. The artisan village will also provide a secure, safe and seamless operation for visitors and locals alike,” Minister Bartlett stated.

Upon completion, the artisan village is expected to complement the adjoining Falmouth pier and significantly reposition it as the Caribbean's premier cruise ship port of call.

The completed facility will also provide the template for other artisan villages to be developed in tourism hubs across the island.

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