Broke handicraft villages look to tourism to survive hard times
Update: Jan 02, 2009
Nearly 60 per cent of handicraft villages around the country have been forced to cut back on their production because of the global financial crisis, according to a ministry official.

Tran Chien Thang, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said while tourism in the villages had helped raise standards of living, many tour services were still woefully inadequate.

About 20 per cent of the villages around the country face closure and another 20 per cent have gone bankrupt in recent months.

Luu Duy Dan, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Craft Villages, said the villages should improve infrastructure and environmental protection to attract more tourists.

The country has 2,017 craft villages, creating jobs for 11 million people, according to the association.

Most handicraft villages have not been able to take advantage of the tourism potential of their traditional cultures, ministry officials have said.

Along with several cities and provinces, the central province of Quang Nam has begun to promote tourism more aggressively.

Last January, the Quang Nam Province People’s Committee launched a project to preserve and develop craft villages through 2020.

The VND 661.5 billion (US$ 41 million) project has focused on 43 villages that produce handicrafts and provide tourism services.

Included are the province’s Kim Bong carpentry village, Thanh Ha pottery village and Tra Que vegetable village.

At the 500-year-old vegetable village, tourists participate in farming activities, including planting seedlings, watering vegetables and ploughing fields.

Ho Xuan Hung, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said handicraft villages had played an important role in rural economic restructuring and agriculture. They had also helped promote the image of the country’s products to the world, he added.
Viet Nam News