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‘Everything Vincy’ for the cruise ship season?

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Vincentians turned out in their hundreds this past weekend for the ‘Everything Vincy Exposition’ and from all reports, they were pleased with what they saw. The exhibitors too, seem to have come away from the experience encouraged by the positive response from the Vincentian public.

Not since the days of the large agricultural exhibitions at the Richmond Hill Playing Field more than 30 years ago, have we seen such an enthusiastic response from our people for an exercise which promotes the purchasing and consumption of local products and services.

While some of the exhibitors were larger, well established manufacturing enterprises, the majority were small, home-based industries, for whom interaction with the public on a large scale is a rare, and thus a cherished opportunity.

So, where do the businesses go from here? What should be their next step? How may our micro enterprises be assisted to lift their game? How can we create more regular opportunities for these businesses to market their products and services?

Ministry of Tourism officials say 270,000 visitors are expected here during the 2017/2018 cruise ship season, which began a few days ago and runs until mid-April. One of the more common complaints of our cruise visitors, especially those who arrive on a Sunday or public holiday, is that there is nothing to see or buy in Kingstown and of those items that are available, very few are made in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

We see an opportunity here.

On those days when large cruise ships are expected, could the outside areas of the cruise ship and ferry terminal be set up in a manner similar to what was done for the ‘Everything Vincy’ exposition? The presence of our makers of chips, jams, jellies, cakes, sweets, juices, soaps, creams, jewellery, handbags, footwear, paintings, mats, baskets, etc in large numbers, would be a good complement to the entertainment presently being provided and add variety to those vendors already in place at the wharf.

Coming off the ship to be immersed in a sea of ‘Everything Vincy’ should be a positive, welcoming experience for the visitor, who hopefully would be motivated to buy. Our small, home-based businesses need to take their products to market more often. This is a perfect opportunity.

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