The Craft Village at the Domaine de Val des Près, Au Cap, officially re-opened its doors to visitors on Friday evening after two and a half months of renovation work on the artisanal facilities found there.
It was Vice-President Vincent Meriton, assisted by the chief executive of the Seychelles Heritage Foundation, Benjamine Rose, who had the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially re-open the village.
The re-opening of the Craft Village formed part of activities to mark the World Heritage Week on April 18.
Present were the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne; the Mayor of Victoria, David Andre; principal secretaries; chief executives; members of the National Assembly and of the diplomatic corps, kiosk owners and other invitees.
Renovation work done by phase on the boutiques and workshop studios, among which twelve of them have had extensive repairs, has cost R1.1 million.
Most of the tenants are returning clients. They are renting smaller or larger kiosks at R2250 and R3300 per month.
In her speech for the occasion, Ms Rose said that providing the artisans with conducive working environment will enable them to express their creative abilities through exquisite craft products which are made available to tourists and locals.
She also emphasised that young people should be encouraged to see creative subjects as a potential goal to be explored and developed into passionate and profitable businesses.
“This makes us realise the importance of our arts, culture and creative industries and why we should encourage its development for our future national wellbeing and prosperity,” she added, noting that government is putting in place provisions to create an enabling business environment for the art and craft sections as an important contribution to job creation, skills development and self-empowerment.
All the tenants expressed satisfaction with the renovation work done and one of them, Joel Bananne, who specialises in essential oil products from coconut, said the renovation gives the area an air of beauty and cleanliness that will attract visitors.
Joel had the honour of welcoming the first group of visitors after the ribbon cutting at his kiosk which he has occupied for thirty years.
Another artisan, artist Colbert Nourrice, who has been displaying his art work at the village for the past nineteen years, said the new look of the kiosks makes them feel more secure, without having to worry about their work being destroyed when it rains.
A representative of 7 Degrees South, Lindy Cadeau, was also impressed with the renovation work on the kiosks and said that the live demonstrations of artisanal work by the artists in the village will definitely be a plus to foreign visitors who are in search of such activities.
During the ceremony, stakeholders were presented with brochures on the history of the Domaine de Val des Près.
Later after visiting the different kiosks, the guests were invited to a soft opening of a restaurant/café, ‘Cuisine et Vins’, at the Maison Marengo run by Kevin Marengo.
The accompanying photographs show guests interacting with the artisans in their workshops after the official re-opening of the village.
Source : Seychelles NATION