By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Over 120 artisans and other entrepreneurs gathered at the BTL Park on Princess Margaret Drive on Saturday, for the Belize Tourism Board’s 4th annual Village Arts Expo.
The expo showcased a myriad of locally made products, including: wood carvings, jewelry, bags, glass wares, baskets and paintings. Forty-one communities countrywide were represented at the expo.
Small businesses selling products such as jams, chocolates, juices, rum, and pepper also presented their items at the event, held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Valdemar Andrade, director of destination planning and cruise for the BTB, explained that the initiative originated from the village BTB’s outreach program, where the BTB works to build the economic capacity of villages across the country.
The expo, Andrade explained presents an opportunity for participants to market their products to distributors, hoteleers, and the public at large,
“Local Belizeans are very important for us because they are the word-of-mouth marketers”, Andrade said. “At the end of the day it’s to produce revenue for these communities, to produce a sustainable livelihood for them to be able to maintain their families and communities.”
The initiative started in 2011 with 75 artisans and enrtrepreneurs. The event now has the support of numerous partners such as Bowen and Bowen Company Limited, The Belize City Council, and Belize Telemedia Limited.