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|Thua Thien Hue’s craft villages develop tourism|
The Nguyen Thi Kiem workshop in Thuy Thanh commune was chosen to demonstrate conical hat making at the 2018 Hue Festival. Last year the workshop also participated at Hue Traditional Craft Festival, where visitors witnessed the deftness of conical hat sewers.
Nguyen Thi Kiem, a Thuy Thanh travel guide who introduces visitors to conical hat making, said “My village’s craft has existed for hundreds of years. The elders have handed down it to the younger. There was a period of time when the craft began to fade. But now we have restored it to serve tourism and supply the markets. If visitors want to learn how to make a conical hat, we’ll teach them.”
Kiem said Thuy Thanh commune has set up a travel community to help visitors who want to experience the daily life of traditional craft villages and ecotourism sites.
“Most of the community members are villagers. Founded in November 2015, the team faced lots of difficulties at first, as the locals had no concept of tourism. Now they provide services for tourists who come to see their fields, gardens, and craft workshop. If a visitor wants to visit a craft village or an eco-tourism site, we will take them there. If they want to stay overnight, we’ll arrange accommodations for them,” Kiem added.
Apart from the economic benefit, craft village tourism helps preserve the local culture. Many of the 69 traditional craft villages in Hue have combined their production and tourism services to promote their shared culture.
Nguyen Dac Tap, Deputy Chairman of the Huong Thuy town People’s Committee, said “Currently we still depend on rice cultivation but are trying to improve the quality of the rice to turn it into a profitable commodity. Thuy Thanh brand rice is one of our delicious rice products. Other crops, including Marian plums are being grown in large consolidated fields. It is one of the products being sold to tourists. This year we plan to register a brand for the Thanh Toan tile-roofed bridge market and expand it to meet the growing tourist demand.”
The restoration and development of craft villages depends on local authorities and functional agencies but is the responsibility of the community and local workers. Agricultural craft villages in Thua Thien Hue are boosting trade promotion, brand name building, and registration of copyrights for locally-made products.