Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Growth & Jobs | Bartlett preparing craft traders for changing market

Published:Tuesday | August 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (right) receives a marketing plan laid out by vendors at the Harbour Street Craft Market in Montego Bay, St James from president of the Craft Traders and Producers Association, Melody Haughton Adams during his tour of the facility on Friday. Partially hidden is chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company, Ian Dear.
This expressive wood carving in a shop at the Harbour Street Craft Market in Montego Bay, St James caught the attention of Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (right) as he toured the facility on Friday. Also admiring the work of art is chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer.
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Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has called on craft traders and producers in the resort city of Montego Bay, St James, to put themselves in order and prepare for increased sales opportunity.

Noting that the expansion of cruise shipping for Montego Bay is on stream, Bartlett said, "The port is being expanded to accommodate the largest ship in Carnival Cruise Lines that is to come in 2020, and the Aida is also going to bring their largest ship with 6,000 passengers during the period, so we have to prepare ourselves for the expansion and the larger volume that is coming."

His assurance was given to the executive members of the Harbour Street Craft Market during a walk-through to speak one on one with traders and producers on Friday.

 

Need for marketing

 

Bartlett also spoke to the need for marketing and use of social media.

"We're going to have to start marketing through Internet marketing platform CLIO, who we are going to engage, so that all our markets will be on their schedule and that will help to position you on-board the ships before they come so that people will know where they are going and not be taken anywhere when they get off at the port," he said.

The Harbour Street Craft Market tour was part of a planned move by the tourism minister to have an overall look at the product through visiting locations, seeing what is being offered, and discussing with stakeholder groups the way forward.

"It's important for us to ensure that the strategy of building the retentive capacity of our economy for the tourism dollar is understood by all and that need for us to keep more of the dollar in Jamaica supersedes all the other needs right now," said Bartlett, as he underscored the realisation that "what makes that retention happen is the local capacity that we build, and that is about the ordinary Jamaican who is providing the creative experience that the visitor consumes when they come here".

He sees his role in this as giving expression to that through policy and strategy development "to enable more and more of our local Jamaicans to benefit from the growth of tourism." To do so, he underlined that the industry was operating in a changing market and all partners in the industry had to be responsive to the changes.

 

... Creating the new architecture in fashioning a new experience

 

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said building artisan villages in resort townships and restructuring what exists, while maintaining some concepts and developing lines of communi-cation, were all part of creating the new architecture in fashioning a new experience in tourism.

He said his visits to craft markets across Jamaica, speaking to craft traders and producers, was critical to the whole process.

"We want to sensitise more so that people at all levels understand that this new tourism is [a] big trillion dollar business and more countries are now involved in tourism than ever. So the competition for the cruise and stopover people is greater now than it has ever been, and everybody is doing new, fresh things, so we have to do that, too, or else we're going to be left out," he said during last week's tour of the Harbour Street Craft Market in Montego Bay, St James.

While noting that there is much to be done, Bartlett said he had observed an improvement in the quality of craft work on sale in the market but that the stalls were too congested.

The minister was presented with an action plan for the Harbour Street Craft Market by the president of the National Craft Traders and Producers Association, Melody Haughton Adams, who has been a trader in the market for many years.

Among those accompanying Bartlett on his tour were chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer, and chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company, Ian Dear.