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Culture can help drive economic growth

Update: July, 19/2012 - 10:36

 

Nurturing creativity: A popular street for tourists in the ancient city of Hoi An. Developing tourism by promoting handicrafts is one of the ways to develop the local economy, according to foreign experts. — File Photo
HA NOI — Culture was a tool that could be used for the growth of a nation's economy, two foreign researchers from UNESCO said here yesterday.

At a one-day seminar with Vietnamese researchers at the Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS), William Codjo from Benin and Tom Fleming from Britain presented a report on cultural industries in Viet Nam and the potential to exploit them.

"Culture can be an important factor in sustainable development and becomes a strategic element in national and international development policies," said Fleming.

"The notion of cultural industries generally includes textual, music, television, and film production and publishing, as well as crafts and design. For some countries, architecture, the visual and performing arts, and cultural tourism are included.

"Nurturing creativity and fostering innovation in societies will help to maintain cultural diversity and enhance economic performance," he said.

The researchers came to Viet Nam in April to research cultural management, implement UNESCO's convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions – and to develop the cultural industry in Viet Nam.

Codjo, an independent consultant, has been involved in the business and cultural industry for more than 10 years. Fleming is an adviser and strategist on cultural policy, the creative economy and arts/innovation for national, regional and local governments, non-government officers (NGOs) and businesses.

Since April, the researchers have interviewed people in key sectors in government and the non-government sector. They also held business consultations in HCM City, Hoi An, Da Nang and Ha Noi to identify practical ways for the Government to develop its medium and long-term goals.

At the seminar yesterday, they illustrated some of the existing strengths that could be used to develop national cultural industries, such as Viet Nam's young population, its increasingly entrepreneurial and digitally literate people, the cultural distinctiveness of the people – including their pride and passion, rich history and traditional skills in crafts.

They also submitted a strategic plan until the year 2014 for economic development capitalising on the development of cultural industries.

"We will set up a pilot creative-entrepreneur and management programme for craft, retail and design companies in the central city of Hoi An or another area with growing cultural tourism," said Fleming.

"This will be to lift capacity, skills and confidence, improve quality and demonstrate how the creative industries can add real value to cultural tourism across the country."

Luong Hong Quang, vice director of the cultural institute, said he highly appreciated the report as well as the studies by the two specialists.

He asked the researchers to give examples of projects launched in other countries so that Vietnamese cultural managers could gain more experience from models of other cultural industries. — VNS

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