Craft villages an untapped goldmine for tourism
VietNamNet Bridge – Forty-nine of the country’s 52 traditional craft villages are located in the Hanoi vicinity and share vast potential for tourism development, highly dependent on niche marketing and improved infrastructure.
By targeting specific segments of tourists, craft villages such as Chuong conical hat village, Chuong Ngo pearl mosaic village, Son Dong statue sculpturing village and Kieu Ky village have immense prospects for growth in tourism revenues in the coming time.
In recent years, Hanoi has invested heavily in renovating its 13 traditional craft villages, modernizing infrastructure, innovating tourism services, improving the environment, and promoting their images by organising traditional craft village festivals.
Municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vice Director Mai Tien Dung says the department has carried out numerous projects and activities to support craft villages’ tourism appeal, such as the making of signboards and posters advertising and providing directions to Van Phuc, Bat Trang and Chuong My villages.
The department has also worked closely with craft villages to link the villages into established tour routes. Most notably, it has invited French experts to assist Hanoi in developing the ancient villages, Dung said.
The general plan for the development of tourism, in Hanoi development by 2020 with a vision to 2030 is to focus on increasing the number of tourism products, such as tours of countryside villages, and homestay. Homestay is a type of tourism that allows a tourist to rent a room from a local family.
International tourists coming to Vietnam, particularly traveling to craft villages want to learn about customs, traditions and lifestyles of the local people and “homestay” in which the visitor is totally immersed in the local culture is highly appealing to this type of tourist.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, Vice Director General of Hanoi Red Tour, said Hanoi should make more concrete plans on investment and development of its craft villages. Ten or 20, or even only five key villages should be chosen to represent five typical fields.
The focus of investment and development should concentrate on these selected villages in a highly coordinated manner initially and branch out to the remaining villages in the future, he said
The DoCST has already undertaken a craft village tourism development project, however, it is not only the responsibility of the tourism sector but also of many sectors and localities, requiring close coordination, Hoan added.
Luu Duy Dan, President of the Vietnam Craft Village Association in turn adds, said local authorities should focus on devising measures to encourage more local people to get involved in tourism development.
Maybe offering incentive programmes for artisans would spur their interest and stimulate them to actively preserve and develop traditional craft, Dan said.
Artisans and skilled workers are the silver lining of craft villages, deserving to receive special treatment.
Experts are optimistic that craft village tourism can be a treasure of gold and silver in the future if Hanoi can improve its niche marketing and iron out the snags in infrastructure development to improve the quality of tourism services.
To successfully develop the craft villages also requires close coordination among local authorities, tourism businesses and craft village citizens, they say.