Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

To promote local handicrafts in the tourism industry, Handicrafts Association of Bhutan (HAB) and Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) conducted an advanced textile-based handicraft designing and product development training in Punakha.

The 21-day training programme ended on June 14.

According to TCB Director General Dorji Dhradhul, a survey by TCB found that tourists barely spent USD 75 during their visit, which is apart from the USD 250 they pay. “This, we feel, is quite low.”

textile product3

textile product1

The products made during the training

He said that with such training, product quality and variety could be improved.

A major concern for TCB today is imported goods bearing the ‘Made in Bhutan’ tag in the local market.

With the training, TCB expects to replace such products in the handicrafts stores.

HAB selected thirty individuals who either had a business license or had previous training in handicraft and who worked in the handicraft-based industry for the programme.

HAB Executive Director Chorten Dorji said that in the second and third phase of the programme, another 70 individuals would be trained.

He said that an exhibition would be held to promote the products after the training further. “As part of the training, we also taught them about pricing and promoting their products on social media and marketing.”

Unlike the basic training programmes in the past, product development programme teaches participants on making cushions, indoor slippers, lampshades, bathrobes, and sofa covers, all with a touch of Bhutanese design.

Dorji Dhradhul said that to promote these products, TCB, in the criteria set to rate hotels, would try and include additional points for integrating Bhutanese products in their hotels.

TCB and HAB will further assist the trainees in setting up production houses and linking them with the banks for finance.

Kelzang, a participant, from Panbang, Zhemgang, is expecting to open a production unit soon.