Caribbean gift & craft show for Marriott Hotel

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By Suelika N. Buchanan

The Caribbean Gift and Craft show will take place from Sept. 14 to 17 at the Royal St. Kitts Marriott, said Austin Weekes, a co-ordinator of the event.

He said the finest craft, art, gifts, fashion decorative accessories and more, will be on display, from more than 20 Cribbean countries.

Weekes said that St. Kitts won the bid after being asked to submit a proposal by June of last year to the organizing committee board of directors of the Caribbean Export Development Agency. After submitting the bid they were also asked to make presentations during last year’s show in Barbados.

“Myself and Randolph Hamilton of Tourism made presentations to the board and also exhibitors explaining what St. Kitts has to offer,” he said. “After winning the bid we had our first meeting in November and one in Dececember and January so we have been liasing with the committee once a month.”

The CGCS was established in 1993 and has been in the vanguard of stimulating and promoting the developments of new products, new markets and incremental export sales in the handicraft and gift sectors.

Weekes is also the general manager of the St. Kitts Craft House and said that more than 200 hundred exhibitors from over 25 countries will have their crafts and products on display.

“This is exposure for our craft producers, exposure for their crafts and others to see the quality of craft work we do in St. Kitts. And I urge craft producers to get into serious production at this time for their crafts to get exposure,” he said. “There will be over 700 visitors coming to our shores for the event.”

Out of that large sum of visitors, 300 trade buyers will be coming from the Caribbean, United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom. The trade buyers will be given the opportunity from Sept. 14 to Sept. 15 to look at the craft before the doors will be opened to the public.

The buyers will include architects, interior designers, boutiques, museum and galleries, jewellery stores, housewares and tabletop buyers and more.

The impact of the CGCS can be summarised as a tool to create jobs and increase income for artisans and help to preserve cultural traditions.

The theme for this year’s event, which is its 13th year, is “Striving for excellence through innovation, creativity and strategic linkages.”

The exhibitors will be coming from various CARIFORUM countries including Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Maarten and the United States Virgin Islands. This year countries such as French Guiana, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Cuba, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Columbia and other countries as part of the show’s wider Caribbean outreach.

A series of preparatory seminars for prospective exhibitors in selected countries reflecting the theme will be held and there will also be official launches of the show in St. Kitts and Nevis and other countries.

Among the four day event there will be services made available on the CGCS site including banking services provided buy the show’s major sponsor First Caribbean International Bank, Internet, Customs Brokerage, Export Certification and Media Accreditation. Also business seminars, an exciting opening ceremony and the major bank sponsored Best of Show Awards.

Awards will be given for best new product, best booth display, best nandcrafted products, outstanding product line, outstanding product line-fashion, outstanding creative packaging and overall special mention.

Another major feature of the event is the Caribbean Fashion Rhythms which is a promotional platform to show case original creations from the most talented regional designers in an exuberant and colourful runway presentation.

“The exhibition itself brings out the best quality craft from the countries and this will increase the profile of the Caribbean to the world market as a supplier of quality items,” Weekes said.

Weekes said that the response from interested participants locally and regionally has been going well and that about 165 booths will be at the hotel for the artists to display their crafts and gifts.