Handicraft, tourism are linked sectors: Expert

KATHMANDU: At an interaction programme here today, people related to the handicraft sector focused on the ‘Interrelationship between Handicraft and Tourism Industries and the impact on the economy’.

Speaking at the programme, Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN) president Bikash Ratna Dhakwa opined that political agenda are hampering the economic agenda of the country.

“Handicraft sector has six per cent contribution to the national GDP but due to lack of proper government concern and political scenario, handicraft export has fallen by 12 per cent according to five months’ data of the present fiscal year compared to the same period last year,” said Dhakwa.

Meanwhile, focusing on the theme during a seminar at the 8th Handicraft Trade Fair and 6th Craft Competition National Planning Commission former member Dr Pushpa Raj Rajkarnikar said that the tourism industry has an important role as a foreign currency earner, employment generator and promoter of the handicraft industry.

“Tourism and handicraft are so obviously co-related,” said Dr Rajkarnikar adding that tourists generally buy handicrafts as travel gifts or souvenirs. Handicrafts hold great attraction for the tourists.

Therefore, the domestic market of handicrafts in Nepal is dominated by sales to tourists. It is estimated that the size of sales of handicrafts in domestic market is twice the volume of export. “Not only that, tourists also play the role of undeclared publicity agents and promoters of handicrafts of the countries they visit when they return to their home country,” he said.

According to Dr Rajkarnikar, both handicrafts and tourism have good prospects. The share of Nepali handicraft export in the international handicraft market is nominal. Given this situation and further liberalisation in the world market, the scope for handicraft products seems good.

The proposed setting up of a handicraft village by FHAN will not only help export of handicrafts but also promote tourism.

Dr Rajkarnikar said, “The proposed handicraft village may be an addition to the tourist attraction. Such products should be developed and implemented under public and private partnership.”