Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmond Bartlett, says the country’s first Artisan Village at Hampden Wharf in Falmouth, Trelawny, is slated to be operational by July.
Work on the $750-million project was delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Following a tour of the facility on Wednesday (January 27), Minister Bartlett said that the construction phase has been “substantially completed”, with finishing work to be finalised by the end of March.
“I am advised by the contractors that it is in an actual handover position and the partners, who have overseen that contract work, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), are stating yes, they are in a position to receive the substantially completed project. There are some finishes that are to be completed by the 23rd of March by the contractor,” he said.
The Artisan Village, which will accommodate several Falmouth-owned small and medium-sized enterprises, will tell the unique history of Falmouth and offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine, art, craft and culture.
Minister Bartlett told JIS News that once the finishing work is completed, “we have the theming to be done because we are making this an iconic attraction by itself and we are pulling on our culture and the history of the Falmouth area and the myths and storylines that characterise the story of Falmouth over the years”.
“The theming will be along those lines and I am advised that this exercise will be done [by] the end of June, so that will allow for the tenants to come in as of July,” he said.
“We are working hard with our partners to bring back tourism activity in these areas as quickly as possible during and post COVID-19,” he added.
Minister Bartlett said that the Artisan Village will be “an investment well worth it”, noting that the facility is “arguably the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean”.
He said the Ministry will ensure that it is managed and marketed effectively.
The Artisan Village, which is financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), forms part of the wider Hampden Wharf Development project and will be the first of a series of similar facilities that will be located in resort areas across the island.
This project is a collaborative effort between the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).