Lonely Planet Writer

Jamaica is planning new ways to share its heritage with visitors

Jamaica has announced that it is planning to build five artisan villages in resort areas that will showcase authentic Jamaican food, music, heritage and craft.

Jamaica is creating five artisan villages to attract tourists. Image: peeterv/Getty Royalty-Free

Its tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the first facility will be built in Ocho Rios, with others to be established in Montego Bay, Falmouth, Port Antonio and Negril over the next five years. He says the venues will showcase the best of the island, while enhancing interaction between visitors and locals. They will provide an avenue for Jamaican artists and craftsmen to showcase their creativity, while reducing the volume of imported craft items that are being sold in the industry. “Frankly, it is embarrassing to see so many goods in our craft markets which are not made in Jamaica,” he says.

Sunrise at Negril, Jamaica. Image: Kylie Sheridan/Lonely Planet

The Jamaican Government is looking to streamline and regulate the craft sector to ensure that the genuine traders, who have been in the business for many years and have invested a lot of time and money, can reap the benefits. A Craft Development Institute is to be established in Kingston, and the traders will receive assistance with putting together videos and promotional material, which will be used to market the industry in hotels and aboard cruise ships.

Locals kayaking near Half Moon Bay in Jamaica. Image: bberwyn/Budget Travel

Additional food festivals are to be introduced as part of a scheme to expand gastronomy tourism in Jamaica, and the country is also looking to capitalise on the growing sport and entertainment travel sectors as well as the health and wellness industry. The aim is to give visitors authentic and unique Jamaican experiences, and the new villages will have social amenities, as well as gastronomy, shopping and cultural experiences.