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First Artisan Village Opens in Falmouth

Written by Linda Hohnholz

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, and Minister of Tourism, the Hon Edmund Bartlett, have presented the Artisan Village in Falmouth as another jewel in the development of tourism in the parish of Trelawny.

Delivering the keynote address at Friday’s official opening, Prime Minister Holness said, “The Artisan Village is a serious attempt by the Government to ensure the diversification of the tourism product.”

He said that while sun, sea, and sand were part of Jamaican tourism’s definition, that was not going to be Jamaica’s defining competitive advantage. “Where we will have the competitive advantage will be in our people and culture. People create the culture, so we must invest in the people to continuously improve that culture. Culture has value.”

Mr. Holness mentioned that the Government had a policy on arts and crafts that was driving the development of the arts and crafts industry. Reminiscing on the impact of Things Jamaica in creating a kind of renaissance in Jamaican arts and crafts, he said, “We are hoping that this will be the new launching pad for a renaissance for Jamaica’s arts and crafts; that this will become one of your staging areas for the training of artisans and the creation of a school of thought around quality arts and craft.”

Minister Bartlett also pointed out that “This Artisan Village is the product of a wider policy determination by the Ministry of Tourism to deal with the issue of upscaling not just the quality of Jamaica’s cultural offerings but the quality, and indeed, the expressions of things that are truly and authentically Jamaican so that when visitors come to our destination, they have what authenticates their visit.”

Terming the ribbon cutting and opening a historic event, Minister Bartlett noted that the Falmouth Artisan Village was the first of five to be funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, with the others slated for other principal resort towns.

Slated for 48 shops, Friday’s ceremony signalled the opening of the first 30, in phase 1 of the project, operated primarily by a diverse group of entrepreneurs producing a range of locally made food, straw and clay products, decorative pieces for home décor, and other items.

The Village also emphasizes Augmented and Virtual Reality. This technology allows users in digitally created environments to interact with and explore a fully virtual world. It is used all over the Village to deliver efficiency as well as an interactive, educational, and entertainment experience.  

The Artisan Village has been developed around a theme that tells the researched story of Falmouth and the unique characters of the parish. The emerging stories will be told by creations in unique public spaces and stores. Also, an entertainment package has been developed with an Entertainment Troupe showcasing unique costumes, music, dance, and dialogue. The troupe also provides customer service support for visitors.

Member of Parliament for Northern Trelawny, Tova Hamilton, saw the opening as the beginning of a new chapter in the community’s history, celebrating the creativity and talent of local artisans. She envisages the complex being transformed into a vibrant hub of culture and commerce.

Describing the Artisan Village as “a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind creations, she said it was not just a place for showcasing local products but “it is a testament of our shared values and pride in our heritage, where locals and tourists will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Falmouth’s artistic scene.”

Placed under the management of the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI), a department of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the Falmouth Artisan Village is a partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica, which owns the property on which the Old Hampden Wharf was transformed and both PAJ President, Professor Gordon Shirley and Chairman of TEF, the Hon Godfrey Dyer were among those lauding its development and also expounding on the economic and aesthetic benefits it will add to town of Falmouth.

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Linda Hohnholz

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