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Developing craft village tourism

The responsibilities of craft village tourism are not only to develop trademarks but also to create a motive force to change rural face and bring social and economic benefits to individuals and organizations operating in villages, said Vu Quoc Tuan, the chairman of the Vietnam Association of Craft Villages to Vietnam Economic News' reporter.
Craft village tourism brings multi-benefits
According to Vu Quoc Tuan, at present, there are 2,790 craft villages in Vietnam (among which 300 belong to Hanoi), creating jobs for more than 11 million of people in about five million households. Among those, many craft villages are thousands years old. Therefore, craft villages and their products are fulfilled with deeply cultural characters. Thus, it is necessary to develop craft villages for three reasons. The first reason is that craft village tourism development contributes to introduce craft village trademarks and products to the world. Secondly, craft village tourism will create a motive force to foster social and economic development of rural areas and the third to generate social and economic benefits to individuals and organizations that are operating in villages.
Especially, craft village tourism is an interesting tourism form. Therefore, if there are sound development strategies, craft villages will attract a large number of domestic and international tourists. For example, Bat Trang pottery village is one of craft villages which are very active to develop tourism. Tourism development in Bat Trang has had positive influences to change the village's face. Dao Xuan Hung, the chairman of the Bat Trang Commune People's Committee said that in the first six months of 2010, the village welcomed 1,152 tourist groups who visited the village, signed contracts and bought pottery products. Among those, 4,517 people were international tourists. Hung also said that visiting the village on a buffalo wagon is a unique product of the village. In addition, tourists making pottery products by themselves have attracted enormous tourist attention.
Nga, a pottery shop's owner stated that every day, her shop attracts about 100 domestic and international tourists to visit, buy and make pottery products with their own hands.
Nguyen Hai Truong, a student of the Hanoi University of Agriculture often visits Bat Trang village and paints pottery products. He said that making or paining pottery products is an interesting entertainment form which helps the youth to not only know more about the national traditions but also keep them away from harmful games on the internet.
There is a need to exploit craft village potential
According to Vu Quoc Tuan, the number of craft villages which has a developed tourism and bring benefits to local people is still low. Most of villages are not aware of the necessity of tourism development and have sound development orientations.
At the seminar on potential of tourism development of Hanoi's craft villages organized by the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade in August, Duong Van Sau, the dean of the Tourism and Culture Faculty under the Hanoi University of Culture shared the same opinion with Vu Quoc Tuan. He said that the city has paid attention to develop craft village tourism for several years, however many craft villages have attracted few tourists. For example, Phu Nghia bamboo and rattan village in Chuong My District has constructed a showroom to display its products for eight years, but until now there have been nearly 100 tourists to visit there.
Nguyen Tien Nhuan, the deputy chairman of Dong Ky Ward People's Committee in Tu Son District, Bac Ninh Province revealed that in 2009, Dong Ky wooden furniture village welcomed more than 300 international tourists. The figure is still low in comparison with the village's potential.
The reason is that craft villages are not aware of tourism development benefits, therefore they have not paid proper attention to improve infrastructure (including transport system and showrooms) and human resources. People working in craft village tourism are poor at English and knowledge on craft village and their products. People in craft villages do not produce enough unique products to attract tourists.
Hoang Thi Khuong, a famous embroidery artisan in Quat Dong embroidery village in Thuong Tin District, Hanoi said that language difference is the biggest obstacle for all people in this famous village. This is why many international tourists are hesitating to visit the village and sign contracts.
According to Vu Quoc Tuan, in order to develop craft village tourism, governmental and local authorities should work with people in craft villages. They also should encourage organizations to invest in craft village tourism, construct more showrooms to introduce about village history. There is also a need to improve human resources' quality and language skills in craft villages. Travel agents should be engaged in the mission.
Source: Vietnam Economic News

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