Reunion’s 400,000+ tourists visiting the island every year spend an estimated 44 million euros on the purchase of art pieces and crafts. Subsequently Reunion Island Tourism (IRT), the island’s tourism office, has assisted to prepare a report on the integration of this crucial component into the overall tourism policy approach. Some 54 proposals have been received from a wide range of contributors aimed at accomplishing exactly that.
Presently only some 20% of sales in Reunion crafts come from local artists and are locally produced, which makes it, according to the report, essential to preserve and to enhance the arts and crafts “made in Reunion.” One of the key proposals made was the establishment of a dedicated local arts and crafts area in the departure lounge of Roland Garros International Airport at the capital, St. Denis, which could help to increase the market share of locally-produced curio and craft items beyond the meager share of only a fifth of the overall sales.
At the local level, Emmanuel Lemagnen wants to see the Regional Council “launch an operational study on the craft sector” and so “prepare a document on a five-year plan.” Meanwhile, Ariane Loupy of IRT reiterated that Ile de la Reunion Tourisme “contributes to publicize the Reunion craft through the living room or the agreement signed with the consular chamber to optimize highlighting artisanal product.” The proposed agreement includes the acquisition by IRT of works of art that will showcase local talent.