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Oct 22, 2014

Local Artwork Exhibition At the Ramada Princess

Distinctive Belizean art pieces are often lost among the wide array of products from the region. Ongoing at the Ramada Belize City Princes, is an exhibition of locally made artwork that have been branded via Unique Belize. The initiative is part and parcel of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan; it targets communities close to archeological sites. Duane Moody has a report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Zericote carvings, bamboo art pieces, woven baskets, hats and other trinkets by Belizean artisans are sold on a daily basis to both local and international tourists as souvenirs.  But with the Caribbean sharing cultural and ancestral commonalities, how can the local products stand out? By branding….Today, at the Ramada Belize City Princess, Unique Belize was launched. The brand aims to promote the work of artisans in the marketplace to allow consumers to recognize authentic Belizean artwork that is unique to the country.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Culture

“The Unique Belize brand of products is yet another result of the ongoing implementation of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan. This new initiative has succeeded in harnessing the authenticity of Belizean artistic expression and has aligned it to become a sustainable component of the tourism value chain. This will no doubt translate in added value in terms of increase gain for our artisans, but will also ensure that the quality of our tourism product offerings will be maintained and that the diversity of the market will be streamlined to ensure that all artisans who are committed to the Unique Belize brand will be able to access viable market for their products.”

 

Unique Belize was developed and organized through the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites project. The project is funded by the European Union and the Government of Belize and targets entrepreneurs countrywide at nine archeological sites.

 

Kevin Gonzalez

Kevin Gonzalez, B.T.B.

“On display is a wide array of authentic poetry, wooden carvings and figurines among others; all uniquely crafted from natural raw materials found in the communities where artisans live. I am excited by the creativity and workmanship of the items that have produced by such a wide cross-section of talented local artisans…many who have traveled several hundred miles to be here, many who have stayed up all night preparing their displays. We applaud you for your willingness to participate in this momentous event. The Belize Tourism Board through its destination planning department remains committed to the development of our local artisans and rural communities with an aim to encourage rural development through community orientated activities by employing local resources and knowledge.”

 

For the next two days, an authentic Belizean Arts and Crafts Exhibition will be held at the Kings Room at the Princess, where several artisans have set up booths displaying their creative pieces. BELZEB Consultancy has been working along with the artisans to fine-tune their products.

 

Judy Karwacki

Judy Karwacki, BELZEB Consultancy

“The vision, love and efforts of all of these people has completely metamorphosized the Belizean artisan sector and the group of artisans. But like Eliza Doolittle, the most important factor has been those artisans themselves and the belief they have in themselves and the talent that they have brought forward to this project. I have been fortunate to work on tourism projects around the world, with lot of amazing people, but this one without doubt has been the most important I have ever worked on.”

 

Daniela Viscarra

Daniela Viscarra, BELZEB Consultancy

“I realize that design was important, innovation was important; we needed a comprehensive approach though because it was not enough if we don’t understand the business and the markets and how we go and sell better and have a better income. And for me, it is not just sell more, but sell better prices.”

 

President of the National Institute of Culture and History, Diane Haylock, also spoke about the benefits the MTBCAAS project has had on archeological sites.

 

Diane Haylock, President, NICH

“Throughout the life of this project, we’ve heard much about the infrastructural works and related actions being carried out at the nine archeological sites that are directly benefiting from the investments made in this project. We’ve seen the conclusion of visitors monitoring and evaluation instrument that will allow us to systematically obtain feedback from visitors to these sites which will be utilized for improved management effectiveness at all the sites.”

 

The MTBCAAS project has also led to the production of a national health and safety standards manual and in the near future, improvements at the archeological sites. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Many of the artisans and their pieces will also be featured on November third at the Memorial Park for the third annual Village Arts and Craft Expo. 

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