Chalky Mount pride
Chalky Mount was a hive of activity yesterday as the Bajan Pride Expo touched down there.
The event, which culminated activities for Tourism Week, brought to the fore the potential of the rural area as an entertainment venue and a place to develop and drive commerce.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, who gave brief remarks, said there was a strong relationship between cottage industry and tourism and that most of it originated in St Andrew.
He said the two industries had enjoyed a “quiet” relationship for some time, but it was time to focus on the relationship some more.
“I think that it is appropriate that we are here to celebrate that fact . . . . The truth is they are the unheralded key component of our tourism offering,” Sealy said, adding that the Bajan Pride Expo could be the most important in terms of bringing home the connection between tourism and the communities.
Tourism development officer Eleanor Jordan said the ministry thought it should get a village involved in the activities and Chalky Mount, known for its indigenous pottery, was selected.
She said the purpose was to provide an opportunity for the residents to make money from their various talents and provide another experience for tourists.
“When we sell our visitors a souvenir, any piece of Barbadiana, it should be genuinely Barbadian. The clay that is used in the potteries in this village is mined in this village,” she stated, adding there was a resurgence of basketry, and that some of the work was also available at the expo.
The attempt to get tourists to Chalky Mount was not as successful as hoped, but the main part of the objective was achieved.
A trip to the Bajan Pride Expo offered home-grown talent in the form of live entertainment, opportunities to tour and patronize the three potteries, and patrons could also purchase other wares from the vendors in the space that was created for them.
Jordan said the plan was to continue working with the handicraft people in Chalky Mount after the expo.
“This is a tourism product, not only for Tourism Week. I will be expecting the officer will continue to work with the community and especially during the period December to April, which is the tourist season. At least one day in every week, they should be setting up that Craft Village down here,” she said.
Jordan said the craftspeople should use the opportunity to network with taxi-men and other providers to get tourists into Chalky Mount and generate revenue for themselves.
“Tourism [the ministry] will stay with them and continue to work with them throughout this whole season. So it is not a one-off thing. We are not about that. It is about tourism product to interest our visitors and create some economic activity and benefit for these residents,” Jordan said.
An added attraction was the recording of Q In The Community to be aired on CBC TV 8 at a later date.