On July 5th 2023, GIZ ICONE hosted a visit to a local handicraft centre devoted to genuine Cambodian arts, crafts, and traditional methods that date back more than seven centuries to the ancient city of Angkor.
Thirteen tour operators were led to explore further the opportunity to create synergy and include Fair Trade Village in their touristic itinerary.
The centre of Cambodia’s handicrafts has traditionally been in Siem Reap, which has a long history of producing beautiful handmade ceramics, fabrics, and carvings that date back many centuries before the Angkorian era. Due to the talent of craftspeople who devote their life to methods handed down through generations, many of the magnificent carvings and bas reliefs on the Angkor temples depict the handicrafts of 12th century Cambodia.
Unfortunately, many of these distinctively Cambodian handicrafts have long been disregarded in favour of cheap, foreign-made goods that crowd the booths of markets all around Cambodia. While skilled Khmer artisans struggle to gain access to a burgeoning souvenir market that may sustain families and communities, tourists in Siem Reap frequently lack access to original goods.
With the mission to build a relationship between international visitors and the local communities that produce some of the most beautiful handmade creations in South-East Asia, visitors can purchase genuine Cambodian handicrafts at Fair Trade Village while also having a good impact on the neighbourhood, preserving traditional skills, and boosting the economics of numerous villages who depend on handicrafts for survival. The Fair Trade Village assures that tourists looking to buy authentic handicrafts may do so and safeguards the jobs of hundreds of local artists.
The market also has artisan workshops where expert jewellers, ceramicists, carvers, and weavers produce exquisite art pieces for tourists interested in traditional handcraft methods. The Angkor Handicraft Association has authenticated each item with its seal.
In the meeting with Torsten Muenther, founder of Fair Trade Village, he mentioned that tourists can enjoy the numerous additional offers to make their stay as exciting and unique as possible. Fair Trade Village also offers group visits, helps with shipping, wholesale purchases, pick-up services (transportation to and from the Fair Trade Village), and accepts all major credit cards. Mr Muenther added that they are working to include additional services and activities encouraging tourists to experience Cambodian culture.