Craft village tourism is a type of tourism to discover the traditional culture of the local people combined with purchasing the products they make. In southern provinces like Tien Giang, Dong Thap and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, there are many craft villages that have a hundred-year history of development and now still keep their craft production ways and draw the attention of tourists, especially those coming from Germany, Japan, Australia and the US.
According to Master of Arts Phan Buu Toan - Deputy Director of Saigon Tourist College, craft villages development associated with tourism not only make tourism activities more diversified but also increase consumption demand for craft village products, create jobs for local laborers and contribute to the economic restructuring. However, the State plays an important role in making orientations and drafting a sustainable development plan for craft villages to exploit their potential and promote links among travel companies and the local people.
Trinh Van Thanh, Director of Thanh Dat Cocoa Co, Ltd in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province said from the wish to popularize and build a brand name for cocoa products, the company has also upgraded infrastructure to receive visitor arrivals. Every month, it welcomes from three to five delegations of foreign tourists (6-80 people in a delegation). They come to visit cocoa gardens, the process of manufacturing cocoa and enjoy products made from cocoa and most of them felt excited about their trips. The company is currently coordinating with Saigontourist Company to expand this tourism model.
Simultaneous investment required
Nguyen Thi Nam from Tan Thanh Tourism Company said craft villages mainly intend to do business but not promote tourism. Every time when tourists want to visit craft villages, the travel companies have to make an appointment with production households in advance. Despite this, most of tourists were excited and impressed as they enjoyed the natural scenes and witnessed the real life works of local residents.
In the coming time, one of the main targets of localities is to increase international tourist arrivals. The Director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau's Tourism Promotion and Information Center Trinh Ngoc Hoan said to effectively exploit craft village tourism potential, the Center has determined traditional crafts that are likely to attract more tourists including arca and snail fine arts products, Hoa Long wine and girdle cakes.
Nguyen Huu Phuc, a visitor from the US shared his experience during his tours to some craft villages specialized in making souvenirs made of bamboos, tea and food made of tea. He said that when taking tours in the villages, visitors seemed to be lost in modern workshops with private sections for each processes including putting in materials, primary treatment, processing and packaging. Apart from sightseeing and shopping, tourists could take part in producing handicraft products under the instructions of craftsmen and they could buy these products as the gifts to their relatives. If they buy handicraft products in a large amount, the goods would be sent to them by post. Such kind of tourism and services, however, have not been adopted in craft villages in Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Tay Ninh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces.