A trade event showcasing unique Bahamian-made quality goods such as fine art, painted murals, sculptures, furniture, bedding, upholstery, table settings and other decorative items, tote bags, hand-printed t-shirts, pottery, hand-blown glass, figurines, creative souvenirs, high-end jewelry, scented candles, coconut oils, photographs, books, handmade straw goods, carved wooden items, shell art, handcrafted fabric; along with consumables such as jams, sauces, spices, therapeutic local teas, coffee, specialty batter, popsicles, fruits and vegetables, local made chocolate and other sweet creations will be the focus of this weekend’s inaugural Tru-Tru Bahamian Marketplace. Vendors showcasing every type of Bahamian made product imaginable have signed up for the event, all harboring the hope that the event will create an opportunity for them to penetrate markets that have not been open to them to any substantial extent in the past.
In a “true-true” example of what can be achieved through public-private sector partnership, the Ministry of Tourism and The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) have teamed up once again to bring the Marketplace to fruition, to showcase a wide variety of authentic products made throughout the country.
The exposition is unique and targets the wholesale market; businesses who are in, or connected to the hospitality industry. The event will bring together Bahamian entrepreneurs and potential wholesale purchasers; hotel owners, operators and executives, restaurant owners and management, chefs, retailers, destination management companies, event planners and marketing companies. The event will be held today and tomorrow at the Grand Ballroom, Atlantis, Paradise Island between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Merchants will sell goods to the general public between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday’s final day.
The BHTA in 2015 embarked upon an initiative dubbed “The Tru-Tru Bahamian Movement” with a mandate to support, promote and propel into the forefront of our tourism product, those aspects of The Bahamas that are unique and indigenous to the destination — food, heritage, culture, customs and traditions, arts and craft, music and dance. The movement also sought to enhance the infusion of all things Bahamian, into the overarching tourism product so visitors, and the local population could experience a sense of place when in Bahamian hotels, restaurants, airports and public spaces.
The initial manifestation of the movement was the Tru-Tru Bahamian Festival, was held on the historic grounds of the John Watlings Distillery in November 2015.
Following the festival, a number of opportunities to connect vendors with the hospitality industry were presented.
In one such environment, the Caribbean Travel Marketplace held in The Bahamas in January 2016, was made between the Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe and a number of Bahamian merchants who showcased their products at the travel show. Meeting the merchants, hearing their stories and the quality of their products, left an indelible mark in the mind of the minister, and spurned his vision for this epic exposition. The minister called upon his team at the tourism ministry and the BHTA, to create what is envisioned to be one of the most exciting impactful and unique events The Bahamas has seen.
“I know that Bahamian-made products can compete with the best in the world. This innovative marketplace will give Bahamian entrepreneurs the amazing opportunity to showcase their high quality goods, their creativity and the best that The Bahamas has to offer to key players in the industry here and abroad. It is time that more Bahamians start benefitting directly from our robust tourism industry,” said Wilchcombe.
To date 100 vendors showcasing every type of Bahamian made product imaginable have signed up for the Tru-Tru Bahamian Marketplace, all harboring the hope that this event will create an opportunity for them to penetrate markets that have not been open to them to any substantial extent, in the past.
This networking opportunity is just the beginning as the combined efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the BHTA will seek to create a web portal for Tru-Tru Bahamian merchants that will allow them to sell to the wholesale market via the portal, in a sustainable, quality conscious manner.
“This is an exciting opportunity and the Tru-Tru Bahamian Marketplace events has huge potential for all stakeholders involved,” said Stuart Bowe, president of the BHTA. “We are pleased to partner with the Ministry of Tourism on this initiative as we work to further expose Bahamian culture to the world.”
Caption: Getting ready for the Tru-Tru Bahamian Marketplace, from left, are Nina Maynard, executive committee, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA); Tiffany Barrett, Tru-Tru Bahamian merchant; Janet Johnson, director, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism; Joy Jibrilu, director general, Ministry of Tourism; Andrew Burrows, Tru-Tru Bahamian merchant; Suzanne Pattusch, executive vice president, BHTA; Tenisha Erskin-Carey and Rionda Godet, Tru-Tru Bahamian merchants. Photo: BAHAMAS HOTEL AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION
The Nassau Guardian
Published: June 17, 2016