Grenada is on the road to further enhancing its craft industry through rigorous training of approximately 27 Artisans who are seeking to make a livelihood from craft making.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) is funding this training, which is an initiative of the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) and the newly created Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA).
During the training exercise, the 27 Artisans were given an insight into what tourists are looking for and the best way to enhance their products to meet the desire of customers.
They were exposed to ways to strengthen their productive capacity, to diversify and improve the quality of their craft items in order to lift the standard of the craft industry in order to produce authentic locally designed, high quality craft goods.
Chief Executive Officer of GTA, Barbadian Rudy Grant regarded the initiative as a venture that would enhance job and also make a significant contribution to the development of the economy.
“I think that the diversification that exist within the (Grenada) Craft Centre is one that is important and one which in a real sense speaks to what Grenada has to offer as a tourism destination”, he said.
“…There is a strong diversity in our product offering and the association with the Grenada Tourism Authority demonstrates that there is a strong linkage between what is happening in small businesses and what happens in terms of our tourism destination,” he added.
According to Grant, a lot more people now see craft as providing another tourism attraction opportunity.
“The manufacturing process, the involvement of various areas, whether it is bamboo or leather or the development of jewellery provides an opportunity for our visitors when they come here to get a chance to see you manufacturing your unique and authentic products”, he told the participants.
“…When we speak to Grenada as a tourism destination we also reflect on the uniqueness of Grenada and the authenticity of Grenada and I believe that both in the area of tourism as well as in the area of craft development, there are a number of synergies where there can be development to the mutual benefit of both sectors,” he said
Grant is convinced that whenever Grenada faces major financial constraints, the craft industry can be looked at as another financial stream.
CEO of GIDC, Ronald Theodore who also addressed the Artisans referred to the training being provided as “timely” and alluded to the fact that there are several impediments within the sector that needs to be worked on.
“GIDC is totally committed to this craft enhancement project and is prepared to work diligently with all persons involved so as to make this project a success so that we can all reap the benefits to include the enhanced project development, entrepreneurial and business skills, diversified craft products …. to support the craft industry, increased employment and income generation within the sector among others,” he said.
Project Facilitator, Daniella Viscarra, a native of Brazil, spoke of being “very excited” to work with the local Artisans.
“I started as a designer, I love the creativity part of it but I realise that design and product development is successful only if it’s working as a comprehensive approach – it has to be related to market.
“We want market, we want opportunities but when the opportunities come we are not prepared to receive those opportunities so that is why the training has all these elements. We have to understand better what people are looking for and the cultural relevance of the products,
“…We are in a country that has so many exuberance and beautiful scenery, we have to take the best … because people will be interested in what we have to offer as a country so the cultural relevance is so important.
During the seminar, it was agreed to put together a database of craft people and products in the country to be linked to the website of the Tourism Authority to help in the marketing of craft products.