Jamaican living in Canada to construct Culture Market in Trelawny
The govenment has long prolonged its announced artisan village. It is still not certain when it will become a reality. A private Jamaican/Canadian investor is planning to create his own, starting this month.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer, Doyle Smith told of plans to construct the village in Unity, near Wakefield, here in Trelawny.
Smith is seeking to tap into the huge cruise ship market. Citizens of Trelawny have long complained that commercially, the cruise shipping port is barely benefitting the parish. That has been Smith’s experience, and he has studied his visits to the island and he thinks he knows where we fall short. Hence his plans for the culture market.
The following is from an article in the Jamaica Observer.
From: The Jamaica Observer
So far, Smith has advanced plans for an artisan village to be built in Unity, near Wakefield in Falmouth. Construction is to begin this month on the village, to be named Culture Market and will sit on 15 acres of land. A soft opening is planned for January, to be followed by a grand opening later on in the first quarter of 2017.
“Based on my research, the average cruise ship passenger, for example, will spend US$21 more at other ports as compared to Jamaica. Jamaica is averaging US$87.41 plus per cruise ship passenger and other ports are between US$108 and a high of US$120,” Smith reasoned.
“So literally there’s a gap of US$21 per passenger that Jamaica can capture. When you are talking about the number of cruise ship passengers expected to surpass two million, you are talking about nearly US$42 million that is not being captured. So we have this beautiful country that people literally arrive at on cruise ships, come off the cruise ships with money to spend, whether it is cash or credit card, but are not spending it,” he explained.
And he has personal experience, too. “We (he and his wife) went to Jamaica about three years ago for a vacation. We had a decent budget and an idea of the things we wanted to bring back to Calgary, but we didn’t like what we saw,” he said.
“So we went to Jamaica to spend our money didn’t spend it and wondered how many people were doing the same thing,” he added.
He said that experience, coupled with an event he hosted at his home for his ATB co-workers a year into joining that company in 2012, triggered a train of thought.
“We hosted Jamaica night for our co-workers, where we had sorrel, jerked chicken and basically just Jamaican food and it was a huge success. To this day they still talk about it and the success was one of the first clues for me that there is a product that is not being filled by the all-inclusive concept in Jamaica,” Smith shared, pointing out that “tourism in Jamaica is what oil is to Calgary”.
“In Jamaica, the quality of the products the cruise guests are being exposed to is not high enough and the variety not wide enough,” Smith added.
Culture Market, he said, will be a far more experiential product to capture the unspent tourist dollars.
“We are looking to create a craft market that is staffed by us and stocked by some of the best artists in the country,” Smith told the
Jamaica Observer from his office in downtown Calgary, noting that the offerings will range from craft to food and other things uniquely Jamaican.
He said that he is still in the process of identifying Jamaican-based companies and individuals to partner with. “Our focus is on getting talented people. We want to work with the best.”
“Jamaica’s tourism is doing phenomenally well. But there are so many untapped opportunities. The market is changing and I am not about to reinvent the wheel, but to improve on what Jamaica already has,” he offered.
However, Smith is not yet ready to discuss costs, only divulging that “a few investors” in Canada have already bought into the project.
— Arlene Martin-Wilkins
From Falmouth News
This is a great project, especially for the slow, rural interior of the parish. This should add another well needed attraction to the parish.