Wed | Jun 19, 2019

Falmouth’s artisan village 75% ready – Bartlett

Published:Friday | May 10, 2019 | 12:16 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Jamaica’s first artisan village, under construction in Falmouth, Trelawny, is 75 per cent complete and on track to becoming operational for the upcoming 2019-2020 winter tourist season, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has said.

The facility, which is being constructed inside the old Hampden Wharf in proximity to the Falmouth Cruise Shipping Pier, is expected to create a new trading platform for practitioners involved in art, craft and other cultural endeavours.

The facility was originally slated to cost $750 million for the establishment of 300 shops, but that number has been revised downwards. Bartlett did not reveal the new number.

Both the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Port Authority of Jamaica are collaborating on the project.

“My own take on it is that with 75 per cent completion, we should be able to look at a complete project in line with budgetary projection. We are expecting to finish on budget, and so far, I am very pleased with what I have seen,” said Bartlett.

The tourism minister conceded that the project, which was originally scheduled to be completed in the last quarter of the financial year 2018-2019, took longer than expected as a result of several changes.

“It has taken a little time, but when you discuss with the contractors and the designers, the architects, and so on the ramifications of putting a structure and a facility like this together and the varying elements that have to be contemplated and accommodated during the period, you will understand why changes have had to be made.

“Adjustments have to be made, and so the timeline sort of slipped a little bit, but we are comfortable that we will be ready for winter 2019-2010,” emphasised Bartlett.

The Falmouth artisan village is expected to be the prototype of a series of arts-and-crafts models that will be replicated in the resort city of Montego Bay, tourist town Ocho Rios, and the eastern parish of Portland.

“The whole idea is that people travel for enhanced experiences, and the artisan village provides enormously powerful opportunities to create, showcase and merchandise,” said the tourism minister.

Model shop

Bartlett said that the contractors had committed to having a model shop ready for inspection by the end of June so that entrepreneurs could make their assessments and conclude contractual arrangements.

According to the minister, the artisan village will form a critical part of reimagining the scope of tourism and boosting entrepreneurship.

“We think that tourism is going to be made more meaningful to the average Jamaican when access is provided for income-generating activities and also for creative production,” said Bartlett.

“This artisan village, in its concept, provides something of a thematic arrangement where different types of cultural assets can be first of all produced, developed, and secondly, showcased and marketed.”

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