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|Visitors shopping at Ha Thai lacquerware craft village in Hanoi's Thuong Tin district|
The application, developed on smartphone platforms and launched by Hanoi Department of Tourism, allows users all over the world to view details of the city’s diverse handicrafts and artworks, from Thach Xa bamboo-made dragonfly and Du Du wooden statues to Phu Nhi rice cake filled with browned onion and minced pork.
Notably, users can move the product samples around in real-time such as placing a statue on the table or trying on bracelets or earrings.
They can also check out the production process of the products as well as learn more about the artisans and the craft villages associated with the products.
According to Tran Duc Hai, director of Hanoi Department of Tourism, the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) has brought about 60 per cent reduction in visitor volume to the city’s tourism attractions.
Occupancy ratio at city-based tourism accommodations has also fallen by 50 per cent, and even 30 per cent at off-peak times.
“Thereby, the dual task of the city’s tourism industry is to focus on epidemic prevention while maintaining activities and services and simultaneously creating new quality products to attract visitors, helping to promote the image of a safe, friendly, and charming Hanoi now and after the epidemic,” Hai said.
"The traditional craft villages of Hanoi make many of the city's distinct tourism products and that promoting tourism associated with craft villages not only brings practical economic and cultural values but also helps brighten the capital's quintessence."
Tran Duc Hai, director, Hanoi Department of Tourism
Hai added that the traditional craft villages of Hanoi make many of the city's distinct tourism products and that promoting tourism associated with craft villages not only brings practical economic and cultural values but also helps brighten the capital's quintessence.
“Developing craft village tourism is the right development direction for the city’s tourism industry and will help recover the domestic market from the blow dealt to it by COVID-19,” Hai noted.
Hanoi is currently home to more than 300 traditional craft villages that are manufacturing a wide range of gifts and souvenirs, such as Bat Trang pottery, Van Phuc silk, Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan, Quat Dong embroidery, Chuon Ngo shell inlay, Ha Thai paint, and Chuong conical hats.
The craft villages’ items, however, have fallen short of becoming a singular highlight and sought-after gifts for visitors.
Very few products of the craft villages find their way to souvenir and gift stores in the capital's iconic destinations such as the Temple of Literature or Thang Long Imperial Citadel.
Truong Quoc Hung, chairman of the UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club, suggested that instead of relying on foreign tourists, the craft villages need to cater to the demand of domestic visitors, especially when developing domestic tourism is one of the important solutions to push up the local tourism industry.
According to Hanoi Department of Tourism, in the near future, the city will host many international events and suggested traditional craft villages to build many high-quality, characteristic products to serve a large number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Hanoi.