Developing craft village cultural tourism in Kon Tum requires consensus from many sides

3.7.23

A house in Kon K’Tu village is funded by a foreign project to develop traditional craft villages but is often empty of people.

It is known that in the past, in Kon Tum, there were also a few pilot projects to support and encourage local people to restore some traditional craft villages to serve tourists and improve community life such as: Brocade weaving. in Plei To Nghia village, Kon Klor village; weaving handicrafts in Kon K’Tu village… And when the work started, there were many women in the village who happily and enthusiastically participated and had high hopes for their products in the future. the future is welcomed by tourists.

This means that not only do they have an additional source of stable daily income, creating more jobs for the community, but they also clearly realize that traditional occupations will be preserved and further promoted when Young people voluntarily learn to be able to create their own income to cover their own lives… But that hope doesn’t last long before it has to stop, some places are only operating perfunctorily.

Specifically, Ms. Y Hanh’s facility in Kon Klor village used to always have 4-5 people working all day at her house, not to mention some who worked at her own home and when it was time for an appointment, they would bring the products to her. as a focal point for purchasing products, but now this facility is closed almost all day long, and there are not many products on display. Ms. Y Hanh said: “At first there were customers who came to visit and buy products because they like flowers.” The patterns on the brocade of our people gradually became less frequent, but now they occasionally stop by but only look and don’t buy anything anymore. Now I only work for some ethnic boarding schools or some places where there is a need for artistic work, but not as much as before…”

3.7.24 3.7.25Brocade baskets and wallets are sold in a souvenir shop but very few customers buy them.

The gloom and indifference of tourists towards Ms. Y Hanh’s brocade weaving establishments as well as other establishments in the province in recent times has really made insiders regretful. To find an answer to this story, I met people with expertise and experience in the tourism industry and learned: “When building these craft villages, the authorities and local production facilities The locality has no contact or association with those directly involved in tourism to have conferences or consult with them. Because more than anyone else, they have more contact with travel agencies and tourists, so they will understand very well the tastes and needs of each tourist of different nationalities when visiting their locality…”.

Mr. Vo Thanh Huong, a French tour guide, added: “The tastes of tourists are also within the capabilities of the people, but because they are still timid, lack the dynamism to learn, and lack knowledge about how to do tourism. People have no concept of marketing… do not receive detailed guidance and enthusiastic attention from relevant agencies, leading to them being quite confused when they cannot find an outlet for their products…” .

And as if revealing his long-standing concern, he continued: “Sometimes I also try to bring visitors to visit, first to let them know more about the unique culture of the people of our country and also to help them.” People can sell products, but occasionally customers buy a few brocade wallets as gifts or souvenirs. As for other products, they also want to buy them because the products are quite sharp and especially when they know the skill and diligence of the artisans to weave these unique brocades while the price is also very reasonable. , affordable, etc… but then they hesitate, then refuse because most of them don’t know what to buy and use it for. Because our people’s products are only used to make dresses, loincloths, baby blankets, blankets to cover or cover up in the cold weather… Meanwhile, the culture of Western people is completely different from ours, their needs are different. want to have a large tablecloth or a fancy bed sheet that matches the color tones of their ethnic group such as bordeau red, white or sky blue… Especially the unique patterns on brocade. Arranged properly, such as lying vertically in the middle or running along the legs on all four sides… As for bamboo and rattan woven products, they should be made exactly like the patterns of our national culture such as baskets, baskets… if only they were refined. more sophisticated, more unique to highlight the quintessence of the region and the product must be compact so it can be easily moved…Avoid the situation where there is no time like Kon K’Tu village has a project of rattan weaving bamboo but imitated handicraft products of foreign countries and then within a short time this model also dissolved itself because there was no output for the products…”.

Realizing that Mr. Huong is quite knowledgeable about the needs of tourists as well as concerned about developing traditional craft villages to create jobs for people here and also to create momentum for sustainable tourism development for the province. Kon Tum but “I can’t help myself” because he is just a regular tour guide. He confided: “There are times when I want to stand up and guide people to make some models as suggested by customers, but then I hesitate because if a product doesn’t sell well, people will be so angry with me that I’m afraid.” Because such items are a fortune to them. Many times I take customers to visit without buying goods to help them. Sometimes when I see them sad, I feel very shy, so in recent years I have not brought customers to these establishments anymore…”.

Listening to the stories of people who directly work in tourism, I see that people who are passionate about the guiding profession, in addition to being proud, wish to introduce the unique products of their homeland to the world. We also hope that people will have a more stable income and through that, they can preserve the traditional profession of their people.

And in that open conversation, I also tried to give a few suggestions to solve part of the difficulty for people who are interested in keeping traditional occupations, which is organizing tours and “vocational training” for tourists. at craft village establishments. The opinion is not new because this process has been implemented in a few places in the country and they have had considerable success in generating income for people such as including experiential tourism programs in tour programs and calculating prices. A whole day’s labor goes directly into the tour cost, then convinces a few families with traditional occupations to let them directly guide guests in practicing activities such as knitting, weaving brocade, making noodles, and making cakes. brewing, making wine and paying a daily wage to these “teachers”… Surely after such interesting experiences, guests and owners will feel satisfied because the “teachers” have an additional source of income. import, and “students” will feel interesting because they can directly practice and understand the work of the traditional profession where they have gone, this will leave an unforgettable impression on the journey. their. And tour organizers will also benefit a lot because guests will stay in Kon Tum for more days, use more services and create jobs for guides and employees of the business….

But in response to my suggestion, Mr. Le Van Manh, Tour Operator of a travel agency in the province, expressed: “I know that, but I don’t dare to include this craft village experience tourism in the tour program because The number of visitors to Kon Tum is not many, tourists often choose short programs such as cultural or ecological tours for one or two days and then leave immediately…”.

After a conversation with them, I felt a bit sad and regretful because of the tourism managers’ lack of interest in deeply researching craft village projects before starting to guide people in their implementation. and relevant agencies; the lack of boldness and hesitation of the guide – someone who understands the interests and tastes of tourists; Anxiety and worry because the number of visitors to Kon Tum is not many, making it difficult to organize a tour program to experience craft villages for the tour designer and tour operator and many other people who want to participate in the activity. Tourism service businesses have not boldly joined hands to find their own direction for the province’s tourism industry. Therefore, until now, after many years of implementing the project, the development of craft village tourism in Kon Tum has remained stagnant.

Why don’t we try to think the opposite, if there are more specific craft village cultural tourism plans? Agencies that manage the tourism industry more closely include appointing people with a passion and vision for tourism to regularly monitor the operating environment of craft village establishments and tourism businesses in the province to exchange ideas. promptly and report recommendations to relevant agencies to quickly support orientation work for establishments… The boldness of travel businesses both directs customers to designed programs and continues to implement them. marketing, advertising… Investors connect with craft village people to have specific, binding contracts, more detailed instructions on service business methods and to quickly transfer to the base the feedback. Review the needs and tastes of tourists, find the right direction for the product…

When all work has been well prepared, there is consensus from many sides. I believe that in the near future more and more tourists will come to Kon Tum and stay longer. And it is certain that with the advantages of cultural and ecological tourism combined with the province’s unique and attractive craft village tourism, Kon Tum will be an indispensable stop in the travel journey of tourists when Come visit Vietnam. And if we keep waiting for there to be many tourists before starting to do it… how long will we have to wait?!.

Article and photo: Tuong Lam

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