By Maggie Farrand

The official launch of the 4th annual New World Handicrafts Central American Trade Fair was held on February 22nd in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

The launch event announced this year’s new features – expanded exhibition space for 105 stands, buyers from new regions including Japan, and a new format for the creativity contest and conferences – and generated public awareness and excitement around the forthcoming September trade fair.

Through Counterpart International’s Community Tourism Alliance, a USAID-funded initiative, the Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT) Arts and Crafts Commission has organized the trade show for the past three years with unwavering success.

In past years, the fair has generated more than $600,000 in sales for local handicraft artisans and positioned the event in the agenda of major handicrafts traders around the world. The fair provides a venue for local producers to extend their reach, linking their small business in Central America to larger, international designers and buyers.

Guatemala’s major media outlets covered the February 22nd launch event, including the official Guatemalan newspaper, Diario de Centroamerica. The event was a definitive success – 103 out of 105 stands were reserved immediately following the event; now the organizing committee is evaluating the possibility of expanding the exhibit space to accommodate even more local artisans. The 2010 event was attended by 90 international buyers and 1,000 visitors, it is expected that these numbers will increase by at least 15 percent for this year’s event.

The New World Crafts Trade Fair will be held at Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua Guatemala on September 21st and 22nd, 2011.

Counterpart has been working in Guatemala since 2003, teaming with local communities to create economic opportunities around tourism – one of the country’s key drivers. We work closely with AGEXPORT, international design firms, local universities and handicraft designers and exporters to produce and sell new products in international markets. Counterpart’s programs have helped create more than 2,100 jobs, train nearly 5,000 people and strengthen 800 tourism businesses and organizations.

Follow the New World Crafts on Facebook. Read the newspaper article in Diario de Centroamerica.

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