Marshallese tourism project keeps skills and craft alive

2:36 pm on 17 May 2019

The manager of Marshall Islands' Tourism says the One Island One Product initiative combines traditional skills with modern methods to boost tourism in the republic.

Local crafts on display at this year's One Island One Product initiative in the Marshall Islands.

Local crafts on display at this year's One Island One Product initiative in the Marshall Islands. Photo: Supplied

The project - in its third year - saw locally made products showcased at the South Pacific Tourism Exchange in Auckland last week.

Brenda Alik said it had allowed locals to preserve their knowledge, skills and craft.

"And we want to keep those skills alive and pass them on to our younger generation. It's really a way for tourism - to boost tourism but at the same time to boost our economy, especially in the outer islands.

"The main resources of our people in the outer islands is their handicrafts and those skills and to share and I think it's important for us to keep those alive."

Ms Alik said bringing the best skills and knowledge from the Marshalls including weaving, cooking and other traditional tools was well-recieved in Auckland.

"It was positive. People came to our tables and looked at our products," she said.

"And I'm so proud to have brought the best crafts from our mothers and sisters back home for the rest of the world to see."

Brenda Alik said One Island One Product came alive each May and coincided with the island's Constitution Day celebrations.

Ninety-four sellers from 17 Pacific nations were in Auckland to promote their products.

Other initiatives include the Agri-tourism projects in Kiribati and the re-branding of the Solomon Islands.

Marshallese showcase their traditional skills.

Marshallese showcase their traditional skills. Photo: Supplied

The exchange was organised by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and saw Wallis and Futuna attending for the first time - only joining the SPTO last year.

The theme of the event was Sustainable Tourism Development through people to people connectivity.

Sellers at the event included American Samoa, Cook Islands, FSM, Fiji, French Polynesia, Nauru, NZ, Niue, PNG, Pitcairn Island, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Buyers came from Australia, Austria, China, Fiji, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, NZ, Portugal, South Korea and the US.

This year's winners of the 'one island one product initiative' in the Marshall Islands include for the Food Product category: Ailuk Makwon; Ebon Banana Chip; Jaluit Nin Tea; and Maloelap Makmok. Home Decor: Wotje Wut Katoto; Likiep Miniature Fan; and Kwajalein "3 in 1" Food Preparation Tool. Fashion Accessory: Utrik Ledrik In Ion Bok Jewellery Set; Kili Bag; and Lae Fly Jewelry Set. Beauty Product: Namdrik Virgin Coconut Oil.