Artisan Villages won't replace craft markets
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In response to an article in The Gleaner of July 25, the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd (TPDCo), an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, wishes to state that we have had consistent consultations with representatives of the craft sector through TPDCo officers. As recent as June 21, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett also met with the sector for discussions on issues affecting them.
It is evident that there has also been miscommunication about how the Artisan Villages will work. These villages are not intended to displace anyone but rather be unique, themed attractions with diverse offerings of food and beverage, art, craft, historic and cultural experiences.
As part of the ministry's overall human capital development within the sector, international trainers have been used to help improve the techniques of our craft vendors. These skills will allow craft vendors to improve their product and competitiveness.
The Ministry of Tourism has, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, spent millions in rehabilitating craft markets across the island in a bid to enhance their aesthetics and build the capacity of traders and producers.
Further, the Ministry of Industry Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries now has direct responsibility for the craft sector. However, we will continue to have consultations and to work with the sector for its improvement as we are cognisant of its importance to our tourism product.
We wish to reiterate that the Artisan Villages are intended to add value to the craft sector and not to replace the craft markets or dislocate anyone.
Tourism Product Development Company Ltd