An innovative initiative to improve income for traders in a Montego Bay craft market aims to increase local economic benefits from tourism.
Central to the initiative is a new training programme from the Travel Foundation endorsed by the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo). Traders in the Harbour Street Craft Market have been the first to receive business training to support them to increase their income from tourism. The initiative is part of a wider programme from the Travel Foundation to improve the impacts of tourism in the area.
The training, designed by the Travel Foundation and delivered by TPDCo trainers includes guidance on what types of products tourists are looking for, how to approach tourists effectively and improve sales techniques, as well as tips for running a profitable business. Around 100 traders have been trained, with more to follow this year.
Local tourism trainer for TPDCo, Natalie Ellis who attended the Travel Foundation ‘train the trainer’ course said. “I honestly believe that this is a great programme and will definitely impact positively the craft traders to maximise their profits because all the information we’re giving to them is actually practical information that they can build on and improve themselves. By improving themselves they will also improve earnings for their family members. For me it was amazing, a really great experience. It has taught me so much more and I’ve been a trainer for 9 years.’
The Travel Foundation is now calling on tour operators and destination marketing companies to encourage customers to visit the market. ‘We’re continuing to work with the market traders, the parish council, TPDCo and others to ensure that the market offers a vibrant and enjoyable experience for tourists and to support local traders. But we also need to ensure that tourists know about the craft market and what it has to offer, so are asking tour operators to include it in their excursions and to promote it.’ Said Julie Middleton, Head of Sustainable Practice at the Travel Foundation.
The Travel Foundation has also developed a walking map of Montego Bay and an insider guide to the area, highlighting local attractions, which are being distributed to tourists and can be viewed at www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk
In the future, the Travel Foundation aims to take the initiative to other resorts across Jamaica.