Hanoi Linking Tourism with Rural Handicraft Industries

2:37:48 PM | 4/5/2023

Traditional handicraft villages have made important contributions to the overall growth of Hanoi by providing jobs for millions of rural workers and creating many valuable exports. To ensure sustainable development and tap the potential of handicraft villages to contribute more to the city’s development, it is necessary to have solutions to preserve and develop traditional handicraft villages, remove difficulties against them, connect supply and demand sides, and find an output market for handicraft products.

Van Phuc Silk Village - one of the oldest craft villages in Hanoi city

Linked with tourism

Hanoi has over 1,350 handicraft villages, the largest number in the country, and tapping the potential of handicraft villages will help generate jobs and boost its socioeconomic development. In addition to vocational training and handicraft cluster planning, Hanoi is also making efforts to develop sustainable handicraft village tourism.

In the past years, many handicraft villages in Hanoi have taken advantage of available resources for tourism development, achieved initial successes and become an attractive destination for tourists. Bat Trang Pottery Village and Van Phuc Silk Village are success stories in developing tourism. They welcome a lot of tourists to explore production sites and buy products as souvenirs every day. Hanoi is home to many other long-standing handicraft villages such as Phu Vinh rattan and bamboo production village (Chuong My district), Quat Dong embroidery village (Thuong Tin district), Xuan La toy-making village, Chuon Ngo pearl mosaic village (Phu Xuyen district) and Kieu Ky village (the only gold and silver film making village) and Chang Son puppet village (Thach That district). Hence, the city has huge potential for developing tourist destinations, which can be linked with other tourism products for sustainable development.

Hanoi's traditional handicraft villages are increasingly attractive to tourists because of their long-standing cultural values and the creativity of artisans in each handmade product. Visitors to Hanoi's handicraft villages can not only admire the typical landscape of rural villages in the northern delta, featured by banyan trees, shared wells and common courtyards, but also visit production sites, come into direct contact with local craftsmen and try making products. This creates a unique appeal for handicraft village tourism.

Hanoi is home to many other long-standing handicraft villages

Promoting development policies

Developing handicraft village tourism is still a long story as there are many factors to attract tourists. Hanoi’s handicraft village tourism has not developed as much as it should because of insufficient and weak human resources, small and fragmented production approach, undiversified and uncreative product designs, and infrastructural gap to tourist needs.

In addition, the involvement of authorities and the coordination of authorities, localities and businesses are not close, resulting in the absence of strategic visions and sufficient investment for handicraft village tourism development. According to elite artisan Nguyen Van Trung, President of the Bamboo and Rattan Business Association in Chuong My district, the development of the Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan village in Phu Nghia commune is increasingly challenging because input supplies fall short, input prices grow up while selling prices are controlled by importers. Besides, trade promotion and market search for exported bamboo and rattan products have not come up to expectations. Currently, skilled artisans are researching and creating more product designs from available materials to deal with input shortages.

Ms. Do Thi Hai, Chairman of the People's Committee of Van Ha commune, Dong Anh district, said, for Van Ha fine-art woodworking village, Van Ha commune, Dong Anh district, the Communal People's Committee is focusing on planning experience, shopping and recreational tourism in the village in association with Co Loa historical relic.

Mr. Le Tien Xuan, Head of the Economic Department, Phu Xuyen district, said that suburban districts of Hanoi are also reviewing suitable handicraft villages for associated tourism development. With its strengths, Phu Xuyen district has built two handicraft village tourism routes associated with spiritual and cultural activities in Chuyen My, Van Tu, Phu Yen and Quang Lang communes to motivate economic growth, upgrade infrastructure and improve people's income.

Mr. Nguyen Van Chi, Director of the Hanoi Rural Development Sub-Department, said, Hanoi City has a lot of potential for handicraft village development when it has more than 1,300 handicraft villages, including 318 certified villages: 48 food and agricultural processing villages, 22 fine-art handicraft villages; 16 agricultural material manufacturing villages, 196 woodwork, bamboo and rattan, ceramics, glass, textile, embroidery, knitting, mechanical  villages, 12 villages ornamental animal production and trading villages. To unlock the potential strengths of local handicraft villages to give more contributions to socioeconomic development, Hanoi also proposed solutions to boost communications, plan handicraft village development, and brand products. The city alsoinvested in upgrading machinery and equipment, improving the quality of product designs, fostering vocational training and developing handicraft village tourism together with the One Commune One Product (OCOP) Program.

To develop sustainable tourism, the Hanoi People's Committee issued Plan 67/LH-UBND on the conservation and development of handicraft villages and cottage industries, rural agricultural tourism development plan associated with new rural development in Hanoi in the 2022-2025 period. Accordingly, Hanoi will consider and recognize 50 titles (handicraft village, traditional profession, traditional handicraft village) and support building brands and establishing collective trademarks for 100 villages. At the same time, the city will direct construction and completion of cultural tourism, spiritual tourism, entertainment services, sports, shopping, and cuisine.

Hanoi hopes that each district/town that has potential strengths for developing agricultural and rural tourism will have 1-3 "Community tourism services and tourist attraction" products and have at least 50% of these products protected by intellectual property rights and assigned 3-star or higher OCOP standards. Each capable district/town will build at least one indigenous agricultural and rural tourism combination model joined by farmers, cooperatives, business households and enterprises. The city will provide training and vocational retraining and foster tourism knowledge for at least 80% of service workers in handicraft villages.

To achieve these goals, Hanoi needs to develop appropriate mechanisms and policies, including general and specific ones, to form a framework for the city. In addition, the city will pay attention to developing OCOP products along value chains and different handicraft villages. Hence, there is a need for developing specific plans while promoting the quintessence and creativity of people and boosting advertisement and development of products made by villages.

By Minh Ngoc, Vietnam Business Forum