The northern mid-land province of Phu Tho is striving to develop and promote local specialties as part of its moves to develop tourism, given most tourists’ wish to buy typical products of localities they have visited as souvenirs.
Doan Hung pomelo is one of the specialties of Phu Tho province (Photo: doanhung.phutho.gov.vn)
In order to get visitors to buy, products should be appealing to them through typical local characteristics, the use local ingredients and attractive packaging. In particular, they must be useful in daily life and have good quality.
Many specialties and products bearing typically Phu Tho’s trait are popular among visitors, such as reproductions of bronze drums, local tea, rice wine of Xuan Son, gold-plated goods from Hoang Phuc, aloes wood of Phuc Minh, cinnamon essence oil of Yen Lap, “che lam” of the area around Hung King Temple, Doan Hung pomelo or palm-leaf conical hat of Gia Thanh. However, due to poor advertisement and promotion, sales of them remain limited.
Phu Tho is yet to have any large-scale commercial centres offering local products as souvenirs for visitors. Along the Noi Bai-Lao Cai highway and National Highway No2, there are several rest stops on sections that run through the province, but few typical products of Phu Tho are available. At tourism sites, most souvenir shops are run by household businesses, with most goods on sale brought in from other localities or China.
The Phu Tho-based Hung Vuong University has conducted a research project on designing souvenirs bearing typical characteristics of the land of the Hung King to serve tourism development in the province. The research team has collected symbols of the Hung Vuong civilisation and used them on local products such as ceramic vases, cups and plates, gold and silver jewellery, comic strips, and silk clothes and scarves.
Those products were introduced on the occasions of the Hung King Temple festivals during 2015-2018 and received positive response, but as they were only made on an experimental basis, the volume of available goods was small.
According to director of the province’s tourism information promotion centre Phung Thi Hoa Le, the local tourism sector will focus on several measures to encourage the production and marketing of local specialties and goods as souvenirs. For examples, local authorities and sectors will give incentives to craft villages to make designated products using local labour, and improve packaging designs and product quality.
The provincial authorities will call for investment in facilities selling local products and souvenirs at tourism sites, thus facilitating visitors’ access and purchase of Phu Tho’s specialties. Relevant agencies will engage in connecting trading firms and producers to boost sales.
Phu Tho authorities will also provide support for trading companies, craft villages and cooperatives in training and experience sharing in marketing, thus enhancing product distribution work.
Local craft villages will be assisted to participate in trade and tourism fairs both inside and outside the province, thus expanding the market for local products.
Recently, tours to craft villages in Phu Tho province have attracted many international and domestic tourists, which also helped with the sale of the villages’ products. Therefore, more such tours should be organised in the future.
In addition, Phu Tho will organise several festivals annually in association with areas producing its key farm produce such as tea and Doan Hung pomelo, in order to promote those local brands and attract investors.
The provincial administration also has plans to organise a contest on designing Phu Tho’s souvenirs. The contest will be open to businesses, craft villages, cooperatives and production establishments, as well as individuals.
Products selected in the contest will be displayed and sold at the annual Hung King Temple festival, which is one of the biggest festivals of the year. Millions of visitors flock to the festival each year to pay tribute to the founders of the nation.