Starting next January, visitors to these shores will be shown how to "craft your own experience" with the Barbados Arts and Crafts Experience pilot project.
The project and its logo were both launched this morning at the Pelican Centre Craft Village, Bridgetown, by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Shelley Carrington, who delivered remarks on behalf of Minister Richard Sealy.
Ms. Carrington noted that the project’s aim was to increase visitor expenditure, strengthen linkages between small businesses and tourism and increase income generation for local artisans, while offering tourists a fresh, new way to experience Barbados.
??"This is an exciting project which promises to add value to our tourism product…it is incumbent on us to continually look?? for opportunities to diversify…in order to give Barbados a competitive edge; and that, in a nutshell, is the raison d’etre of this project," Ms. Carrington observed.
The Permanent Secretary identified the venture – which will see visitors actively participating in creating a craft item keepsake or preparing a local dish – as key to increasing interaction between tourists and the local community.
"It is the ministry’s belief that it is necessary to ensure that the benefits of tourism trickle down to local Barbadians.?? Stemming linkages is one way to achieve this goal.?? We must also encourage our visitors to interact with our locals in our communities and to sample our culture," she said.
Tourism Development Officer, Shanise Taylor, explained that the pilot project, which is set to begin in mid-January 2012, would see persons choose from two package options.?? These would both feature transportation from and to hotels; an art, craft or culinary lesson; and a studio tour.?? One package, however, would also include an authentic, Bajan lunch as part of the experience.?? Bookings for the tours will be managed through Facilitators Unlimited, which is also located at Pelican Village.
Ms. Taylor offered that the pilot project would "provide our visitors with an experiential tourism experience whilst at the same time providing economic benefits to the local artisan, and, by extension, our economy".?? She added that the desired outcome would see "the development of a new tourism product… increased foreign exchange earnings [and] usage of local arts and craft within our tourism sector; increased exposure of the visitor to local art, craft and cuisine; and an enhanced visitor experience and relationships between the visitor and our community".????
Launch attendees were treated to a tour which offered a taste of what future ???Experience’ visitors would enjoy. This included a jewellery demonstration with Azipho’s Creations; observing the crafting of a mortar and pestle with Hardwood Woodworks; seeing basketry in motion at Roots and Grasses; learning more about the making of cigars at the Caribbean Tobacco Company; a glass creation display at Crystal Forms; and a painting demonstration with members of the ??Barbados Arts Council.
The Barbados Arts and Crafts Experience pilot project was coordinated by the Barbados Investment Development Corporation, the Intimate Hotels of Barbados, the Barbados Arts Council, the Barbados Craft Union, the Pelican Tenants Association and the Ministry of Tourism.