Bartlett: MoBay's Old Fort Craft to become artisan village
Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett says the Old Fort Craft Market in Montego Bay, St James, is to be developed into an artisan village, making it the second such facility geared towards providing a holistic Jamaican experience for cruise passengers.
"The Old Fort Craft Market is in the makings of creating a true artisan village right there with the integrated experience of heritage and food as an artisan institute [because] a number of the producers are right there," Bartlett told The Gleaner.
Bartlett said the Tourism Product Development Company (TDPCO) and the St James Municipal Corporation are tasked with preparing a design of the new artisan village.
"So, what I have asked the technical team at TPDCO to do is to, in collaboration with the parish council, redesign the entire facility there and to do the costing necessary to bring together a truly and fully appointed artisan village that will accommodate all the craft traders and the producers who are currently there," he said.
The tourism minister, who toured the facility on Thursday, said when the Old Fort artisan village, which is expected to come on stream some time after the Falmouth facility, is up and running, it will only be catering to the existing operators.
According to Bartlett, the panoramic view that the Old Fort Craft Market provides is an irresistible charm to behold.
"To add value through the development of the cultural experience with the heritage artifacts, the view at that centre is to die for," said Bartlett. "I think that it will create such a powerful customer value proposition in the market that the Old Fort Craft Market will be absolutely irresistible to cruise and other passengers."
Bartlett further revealed that the redesign of the Old Fort facility will include retrofitting the existing canteen, which will provide visitors with a taste of Jamaica's finest meals to add to the visitor experience.
New Gastronomy Experience
"The canteen will create a new gastronomy experience there, and there will be the opportunity for music and entertainment, as well as for enjoying the rich heritage experiences that the area has," Bartlett said.
The Falmouth artisan village, which is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2019, is to be used as the template on which the Old Fort artisan village and all other such facilities will be built.
"Falmouth (artisan) village is going on now. We hope that it will be finished in early 2019. What we surely want it to be ready for is the next wave of ships that will be coming in 2020 -2021," added Bartlett.
Last month, craft vendors and traders rejected plans to establish artisan villages in resort areas, citing concerns over an attempt to push existing vendors out of the industry.
The president of the Jamaica Craft Traders and Producers Association had said there was no need to erect artisan villages as existing craft markets had enough space and only needed to be developed properly.