Bat Trang pottery village creates attractions to lure tourists
The century-old craft village on the outskirts of Hanoi is now undergoing a facelift, ready for tours connecting the capital with surrounding areas.
Bat Trang craft village (Gia Lam District, Hanoi) is preparing to draw visitors back by freshening up tourism products.
Visitors to the Bat Trang Ceramic Museum. Photo: Bat Trang Ceramic Museum
Numerous advantages to attracting tourists
Located roughly 12 km from downtown Hanoi by road and 7 km by waterway, Bat Trang Ceramics Village is considered one of the capital’s key tourists sites.
Associated with Thang Long - Hanoi’s history, Bat Trang still retains many distinctive features of an ancient pottery village in the capital.
Besides the craft village tradition, the commune’s long-standing culture possesses such traits as unique village festivals, customs and cuisine, which are the advantages for Bat Trang to develop various types of cultural and experiential tourism.
According to the People's Committee of Bat Trang Commune, besides the fame for producing a variety of lively and sophisticated ceramic earthenware, the commune also features various other advantages for tourism development. It currently has nine historical, cultural and architectural relics, two revolutionary vestiges, 23 ancient houses and 16 lineage halls which represent the traditional cultural traits of the old Bat Trang.
In 2019, the Hanoi People’s Committee issued a decision to recognize Bat Trang as a Tourist Attraction of the Capital, while the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism acknowledged that “the traditional pottery in Bat Trang Village in Bat Trang Commune is a national intangible cultural heritage”.
|Travelers learn to make terracotta stuff in Bat Trang Ceramic Village. Photo: Bat Trang Ceramic Museum|
Pham Huy Khoi, Chairman of Bat Trang Commune People's Committee, confirmed that after the recognition of Bat Trang as a tourist destination, the number of visitors coming here doubled, and even, in certain periods, tripled, compared to before.
“The committee has implemented a number of solutions to preserve and foster the traditional craft village’s values, such as applying Industry 4.0 technologies to develop smart tourism or renovating and preserving relics, including the Bat Trang communal houses, a temple of literature, ancient dragon kilns and artisans’ houses, among others,” he stated.
One of the new features of Bat Trang tourist area is the Centre for Quintessence of Vietnamese Craft Village where visitors can visit to learn about the local pottery tradition and experience pottering-making activities. This is a new building with exceptional architecture, regarded as the ceramic museum of Bat Trang.
Freshening up tourism products
Identifying Bat Trang as one of the key tourist destinations, the Hanoi Department of Tourism has cooperated with the Gia Lam District People's Committee to re-evaluate the current situation based on a survey with the aim of enhancing the quality of the tour from Hanoi – to downtown to Bat Trang Craft Village.
According to Chairman of the Hanoi Travel Association and Director of Hanoitourist Travel Company Phung Quang Thang, in order to revive its enchantment, Bat Trang should overcome various weaknesses, such as the lack of connections among the sites in the village and with other tours.
|Artisan Pham Anh Dao from Bat Trang Commune, Gia Lam District, Hanoi. Photo: PAD|
Although there is a bus line from the inner city to the village, in order to draw more tourists, Bat Trang needs to be accessible through improved public transport.
So as to improve the quality of the Bat Trang tourist route, the Hanoi Tourism Corporation (Hanoitourist) is willing to coordinate with the Bat Trang Commune People's Committee to design more tours, which are expected to be introduced at the Vietnam International Travel Mart - VITM Hanoi 2022, taking place from March 31 to April 3, Mr. Thang added.
Contributing to the Bat Trang tourist route’s quality enhancement, Nguyen Thuy, Deputy General Director of Hanoi Transport Corporation, said the business is planning to launch a double-decker tour from Hanoi downtown to Bat Trang”.
On solutions to develop Bat Trang tourism into an attractive product of the capital, Dang Huong Giang, Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism, noted that in addition to designing new products, it is important that the locality focuses on protecting the landscape and environment, reorganizing intra-regional traffic, strengthening transport and tourism linkages with neighboring localities, as well as actively cooperating with travel businesses for plans to pick up domestic and international tourists.
|A terracotta vase created by artisan Pham Anh. Photo: PAD|
According to Dang Thi Huyen, Chairwoman of Gia Lam District People’s Committee, the local socio-economic development plan until 2025 includes developing infrastructure for tourism.
In the coming time, the locality will take heed of coordinating with other units to design new tourism products, getting ready to welcome domestic and international visitors.
Besides, Gia Lam District will cooperate with the Hanoi Department of Tourism in applying Industry 4.0 technologies to roll out smart tourism investment in Bat Trang, establish a resource database, and create a 3D digital map of tangible and intangible cultural heritage as well as tourism service types.
Similarly, automatic tour guide systems at the attractions and smart tourism via mobile apps and QR codes will be developed to introduce cultural and historical sites in Vietnamese and English.
Just before the pandemic, the number of travelers to Bat Trang was estimated at around 200,000 per year, of them, foreign visitors accounted for 10%, and students and teenagers made up 40%. In the high season, Bat Trang welcomed nearly 10,000 visitors per day.
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