In many places, crafts such as textiles and art contribute greatly to the culture of a destination and the travel experience. Crafts can be an important contributor to a country’s economy, employing artisans that are preserving cultural heritage, while generating an important source of income through the informal sector.
The tourism industry provides an important export market for a host of craft products. For example, hotels and restaurants demand diverse craft products in order to furnish and equip their establishments. Tourists often set a budget for themselves expecting to buy different products to take home as souvenirs. These souvenirs then serve as tourism marketing tools by telling a story of the destination and adding to the travel experience.
Solimar’s Craft and Tourism Program improves the cohesion between the craft and tourism sectors by creating stronger linkages between the two along an integrated value chain. Solimar provides joint tourism marketing and promotion efforts for the tourism and crafts sectors to heighten awareness and appreciation for the artisanal culture among tourists. Solimar also trains artisans on tourism business basics, which allows for them to be more successful in reaching tourism markets. The development of tourism circuits in and around craft workshops in urban or semi-urban areas is a feasible strategy for local economic development and allows the craft producer to build relationships with tourists while promoting and sustaining traditional craft production practices.
The Craft and Tourism Program results in increased revenues and profitability for artisans by increasing their access to the tourism market. Solimar does this through developing partnerships that link tourism demand with craft supply, creating direct linkages between craft and tourism professionals and developing and disseminating integrated marketing and promotion tools.
What to Expect
- Cross sector Analysis – Solimar will conduct meetings with tourism and craft sector leaders to help reveal demand and supply opportunities. In these discussions possible craft routes are conceptualized and training needs assessments are conducted.
- Tourism and Craft Sector Workshop – A workshop is held to present findings, reach consensus on the desired way forward and create an action plan for addressing gaps in the value-chain for crafts and tourism. A branding survey is also conducted to begin the marketing strategy for craft sales to tourists. Bringing the sectors together forms stronger relationships and improved cooperation.
- Branding and Packaging – Brand designs, packaging samples, info pamphlets and signage are created and distributed to increase craft sales. Branding and promotion is important to spark interest in tourists while providing important information on the authenticity, history and cultural importance of local crafts.
- Craft Routes and Tourist Handling Training – Agreed upon craft routes are developed for tourists and artisans receive on-sight trainings on how to engage tourists and generate sales. These routes create a shopping experience for tourists, providing an educational and meaningful activity to add to their itineraries.