Innovating and promoting handicrafts are solutions for Hanoi to lure more visits to craft villages, contributing to the growth of the city’s tourism.
Craft villagers in Phu Tuc commune, Phu Xuyen district. Photo: Hai Linh
A thousand and three hundred craft villages in Hanoi produce a wide variety of products such as pottery (Bat Trang village, Gia Lam district); lacquer (Ha Thai village), embroidery (Quat Dong village, Thuong Tin district); fan (Chang Son village); bamboo and rattan (Phu Vinh village, Chuong My district) among others. Despite a growing number of tourists to these villages, souvenir, revenue is still poor, partly due to the lack of diverse and signature items.
Unattractive product and packaging design, along with promotional activities that have not been properly invested, are to blame for the meager profits, said the president of the UNESCO Travel Club in Hanoi, Truong Quoc Hung. Today, craft villages basically offer what they have instead of what tourists need, while local artisans, although being skillful, lack experience, financial and technology know-how, so they have not accessed customers via the internet.
In addition, the connection with tourist destinations is weak, so craft traders cannot understand the needs and tastes of tourists, which is also the reason for the bad sale of souvenirs, Hung added.
Innovation & promotion
Realizing about these shortcomings, some establishments have invested efforts to innovate product designs and packaging. In addition to traditional items such as rattan baskets, rattan tables and chairs, artisan Hoang Van Hanh (Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan craft village, Chuong My district) has created new products suitable for the demand of young visitors such as bracelets, rings which are made of rattan and bamboo.
Meanwhile, many lacquer products of Ha Thai village (Thuong Tin district), after being applied changes in motif and design, have earned the preference of foreign customers, Chairman of Ha Thai Lacquer Association Do Hung Chieu said. Some businesses and craft village households have set up their websites and take advantage of social networks to promote their products.
In order to support craft villages, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade in cooperation with the municipal Department of Tourism organized the design competitions for handicraft products in recent years, with the aim of stimulating creativity and launching new product models suitable to the demand of tourists. Besides, the Hanoi Department of Tourism has supported those villages through promoting handicrafts on its website.
According to local insiders, instead of mainly depending on foreign tourists, craft villages should pay more attention to domestic tourists, especially as this segment is one of the important solutions to restore and stabilize the tourism market in Hanoi in particular and in Vietnam in general.
The tourism Department will launch an application to introduce craft village products using 3D technology, allowing visitors to see details of products, information about the artisans, craft villages and the process of elaborating the item. This application is expected to be a promotion channel for more than 300 craft villages, contributing to improving the quality of tourism products and increasing the spending of local and foreign visitors to the city in the coming time.