MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of State for Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has said that government, through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO) was developing a sustainable growth plan for the craft industry, which would be implemented by year-end.
Dr. McNeill, who was addressing a special meeting of stakeholders in the craft industry at the Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort in Montego Bay on August 16, said that the move was in keeping with the Tourism Master Plan and was aimed at making craft markets a place of interest and a first class shopping experience for visitors and locals.
In addition to product and infrastructure development, Dr. McNeill informed that the plan would entail providing training for participants in the craft industry, as a priority.
“It is clear that any business in the world benefits tremendously from training because the more training workers are exposed to, the better they become.
(We) therefore want to put in place a system whereby this training is ongoing from one level to the next …we want to ensure that every participant, who wants to be the best, has that opportunity to do so through training,” he stated.
The Tourism State Minister also pointed to the need for greater regulation of the industry, and for traders to be more business-oriented.
“We must seek to develop ourselves as members of the industry because one of the things we would like to achieve is a level of independence. This is an important business and once it is treated as such, and the different principles of business are applied, then people can be successful so that at the end of the day, we will end up with a stronger industry,” Dr. McNeill stressed.
He noted that marketing was also an essential element and that this would be carefully developed on a centralized level, involving all the craft markets.
He stressed that the input of all participants, who were considered as movers and shakers in the industry, would be sought in the implementation of the development strategy of the craft industry.
Director of Corporate Services at TPDCo, Barrington Payne, has expressed confidence that once the plan was developed and implemented, tremendous changes and improvements would be evident across the craft industry.