(VOVworld) – Home to 21 ethnic minorities, Dien Bien province in the northwestern region of Vietnam has long been a popular tourist destination with many historical places closely associated with the 1954 Dien Bien Phu victory. The local authorities have acknowledged the importance of taking advantages of the province’s many ethnic cultural identities to develop tourism as part of its new rural development path. VOV reports….
Together with 20 other hamlets across Vietnam, Che Can hamlet in Dien Bien district was selected in 2009 for a project to preserve Vietnam’s traditional cultures. Che Can was given 450,000 USD to restore the local Thai people’s traditional houses, festivals, musical instruments, and art of brocade weaving. Head of Che Can hamlet Ca Van Oi talked about the restoration of brocade weaving in the hamlet: "Thanks to an investment in 2010 from Dien Bien provincial Division of Culture to develop brocade and rattan weaving, we have set up weaving groups with up to 6 people and 1 artisan in each group. We have also organized brocade weaving classes every year. The products are displayed in the traditional house and visitors can buy them if they are interested."
Members of the weaving groups in Che Can are now skilled enough in weaving techniques that they are able to complete complicated brocade products such as Pieu scarves, bags, blankets, and mattress covers. Women in Che Can now often practice brocade weaving when farm work slows and have become more aware of the importance of preserving their traditional craft of brocade weaving. Lo Thi Chung said: "Our craft would have fallen into oblivion without this effort and our children would no memory of it someday. We have done a lot to promote the weaving craft by introducing it both to the local people and to visitors. This trade has boosted our incomes and helps us pay for our children’s education."
The model of developing cultural hamlets for tourism has proved to be a good solution for new rural development in Muong Phang commune, too. Muong Phang's Party Secretary Lo Van Bien said: "We are doing a number of things at the same time. We are trying to develop the local economy by growing fruit trees, developing the craft of brocade weaving, and creating our own tourist products for visitors. For example, we’ve organized cultural exchanges to introduce our history and our unique cultural identity to visitors through brocade weaving and the local cuisine."
Dien Bien province has applied this model in 8 other hamlets - Phieng Loi, Him Lam II, Noong Bua, Co My, Ten, U Va, Pe Luon, and Men. In these hamlets, art troupes have been established to entertain visitors, promote the local culture and arts, and generate more income for local residents. These hamlets are being helped to develop the model of community-based tourism. To attract more visitors, the local people have altered their habits to preserve a green, clean environment. Lo Van Un, chief of Ten hamlet in Dien Bien district, said: "The local people understand the goal of building a cultural hamlet. They are now more aware of preserving our unique culture and actively participating in local cultural and art movements. The local authorities have paid a lot of attention to persuading people to maintain a green, clean environment and encouraging them to donate land for new roads."
Dien Bien province has approved a project to build cultural hamlets to develop provincial tourism by 2015. In addition to the 8 Thai hamlets, 10 hamlets of Mong, Kho Mu and Ha Nhi people will also receive funds to develop this new model of cultural tourism.