Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. (NCPL) and Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) hosted the Authentically Bahamian Trade Fair on December 11 & 12, 2021, marking the first step taken by the Authentically Bahamian Advisory Committee to connect Bahamian artisans with wholesale purchasers and shoppers looking for unique, hand-made Bahamian finds. The Committee is tasked with infusing authentically Bahamian elements into the Nassau Cruise Port space, as the redevelopment of the Cruise Port continues towards its completion date which is set for 2022.
The Committee’s overarching mandate is to develop, implement and maintain organizational infrastructure including operational guidelines, protocols, quality and authenticity standards to ensure the Authentically Bahamian marketplace showcases the best representation of authentic, Bahamian-made products and goods.
Well known culturalist, Pam Burnside, an active member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and President of Creative Nassau, is Chairwoman of the committee. Other public and private stakeholders make up the remainder of the Committee members, namely: Ed Fields and Amanda Freedman, Nassau Cruise Port Ltd.; Debbie Strachan, BAIC; Suzanne Pattusch, BHTA/Tru Tru Bahamian; Samantha Rolle, SBDC Access Accelerator; Kirk Deleveaux and Eldena Cartwright, Festival Place Association; Janet Johnson, TDC; and Bernadette Bastian, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation.
Over 80 artisans and entrepreneurs operated booths within The Grand Ballroom of Atlantis at the Authentically Bahamian Trade Fair and showcased a wide variety of high-quality Bahamian-made products including craft beer, rum, artwork, crafts, straw goods, jewelry, woodwork, sundry items, clothing, shell work, jams, pepper sauces, beverages, donuts and popsicles. Entertainment was all- Bahamian and even the hand sanitizer on each vendor booth was Bahamian-made.
NCPL Director of Business Development, Ed Fields said “It was important to bring together many facets of the Tourism Industry on this Committee, and to organize the Authentically Bahamian Trade Fair because Nassau Cruise Port Ltd. is creating a destination where there will be no mistaking a visitor is in The Bahamas. The Trade Fair has been a great opportunity to connect wholesalers with retailers, some of whom are within the Port space, to promote the craft cottage industry and authentic Bahamian products that you can only find in The Bahamas. The positive feedback we have received from participants and attendees has been overwhelming”.
The Trade Fair hosted 16 Family Island participants from islands all over the archipelago including: Andros, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Acklins, Grand Bahama, Exuma, San Salvador and Abaco. The Trade Fair operated successfully under the health protocols of mask wearing, hand sanitizing, and social distancing as mandated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Committee Chairwoman and President of Creative Nassau, Pam Burnside stated “We were thrilled to receive so much interest from applicants for the Trade Fair. We are especially proud to have hosted so many Family Island participants and this is a step in the right direction for promotion of the valuable Orange Economy in The Bahamas”.
Debbie Strachan, Sr. Deputy General Manager of BAIC shared that “Committee members were thrilled to receive reports from the vendors throughout the weekend saying how excited and grateful they were to have the stellar opportunity the Authentically Bahamian Trade Fair presented to showcase and sell their products following many months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The Trade Fair was open to members of the public who capitalized on the opportunity to shop locally and “Buy Bahamian” this Holiday Season.