Ta' Dbiegi Crafts Village is the oldest crafts centre in Gozo showcasing traditional crafts making and artisan products in one area of 6,500sqm.
This public and private collaboration was mainly created to provide an attractive space for local artisans to showcase and sell their products, and to provide visitors with an authentic experience of the crafts being created. The public infrastructure was essential for the preservation and promotion of local traditions and crafts. The centre is managed by Malta Enterprise and Malta Industrial Park, two government agencies within the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses. Malta Industrial Parks is responsible for the property, maintenance, contracts of tenants, and landscaping. In 2014, Malta Enterprise set up an office within the premises to manage and to promote the Crafts Village, and to assist the network of SMEs to improve their market position. The cluster is made up of 17 operators that includes lace making, pottery, local stone, woollens, paintings, and traditional foods. Recently, Malta Enterprise has collaborated with the Malta Crafts Council to certify operators who produce authentic artisan products. Six artisans have been accredited for their high quality of work among which are metal works, pottery, leather, traditional food, candle making, and glass blowing. Such expertise in crafts making will offer a rich experience to visitors and benefit the whole network. The Crafts Village attracts tourists to the westernmost part of the island, and locals, tenants and visitors all benefit from this activity.
In 1998, major infrastructural work funded by government; In 2007, embellishment works partially funded by EU funds. Ongoing expenses: maintenance works, website, administration (part-time). Administration income is low and comes from the annual rent of the tenants which increase at very low rates.
Evidence of success
Historically serving as soldiers' quarters for the British military services, the village has been renovated as a hub for artisans and a tourist attraction for all the family. The centre has been open at full capacity for years and the number of huts were increased along the years. Tenants who decided to stop their contracts due to expansion of the business were always replaced within a short period of time. The Crafts Village is visited daily by a good number of free and independent travelers.
The Crafts Village lacks coordination between the tenants/operators. This would lead to better exposure and increase visitors' number and yield. An organised network will include more meet the makers tours and improve the coherence of the tourism offer in the area.
Potential for learning or transfer
The centre, contributing to high quality craftsmanship in an attractive area is a value added to the tourism offer of the island of Gozo. Besides, the artisan hub supports the preservation and promotion of local traditions and artisan products and presents visitors with an authentic and educational experience.