Handicrafts dept urge to combine tourism with handicrafts

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Mysore, Jun 1 (UNI) Enormous scope is on the card to combine tourism with handicrafts to propel the local economy by creating employment potentiality and generation of income to alleviate poverty in the Mysore region, according to sources in the Handicrafts Department.

Considering the feedback from the local community to a 'Handicraft Exhibition' in the city, conducted a few years ago, the 'City of Palaces' now plays host to more than a dozen such events that underlines the growing popularity of handicrafts and artefects even among the domestic consumers. It was precisely for this reason and to provide a permanent platform for artisans that the JSS Urban Health was conceived and developed.

Sources at the department of the Handicrafts and Marketing here told UNI that the survey of foreign tourists' expenditure on handicrafts was a pointer that handicrafts and artefacts of India were in demand and could be trapped to generate income and boost productivity.

The handicrafts industry provides direct and indirect employment to nearly ten million people in the country and the government estimated that the turnover from handicrafts was nearly Rs 25,000 crore during the year 2006-2007. The survey depicts that silk, cotton, wool, clay items, bamboo, wood products, metal and jewellery, natural fibbers, leather, paper and paper products, and artefacts made of locally available raw materials were in demand.

The tourists, who participated in the survey, had spent around Rs 15 crore on handicrafts.

Mysore, with its rich tradition in silk, wood, and a slew of other can reap a rich harvest, if the State senses that a potential gold mine is waiting to be trapped in this sector.

Considering the fact that the actual number of international tourists surveyed was 12,250 out of nearly five million, and these tourists spent nearly Rs 15 crores on handicraft items, the latter's potential for generation of income had remained untapped.

In India, handicraft sector was considered to be the second largest generation of employment after agriculture. Indian handicraft industry is expected to triple its export turnover to Rs 39,000 by 2009-10, which, in turn, would create employment opportunities for 20 lakh youth.

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