Handicrafts Shops Thrives In Paro Selling Bhutanese Textile, Paintings, Bamboo Products And More

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With businesses picking up fast as a result of the tourism boom, the handicraft shops in Paro have even formed a committee with a chairperson to address issues related to handicrafts.

The Harmonious Four Friends. (Source: Bhutan Natural)

 

By Dechen Dolkar | Business Bhutan

Back in 2006, there were only three handicraft shops in Paro, Bhutan. However, between the year 2011-12, the number shot up to 40 and in 2013, 10 more cropped up, taking the total to 50. As of 2017, there were 74 handicraft shops operating in town.

The locally made products sold in the handicraft shops include textile, paintings, woodcrafts, bamboo products and herbal medicine while the imported products are mainly antiques.

 

Source: Bhutan Natural

 

Around 60% of the products are imported and 40% are locally produced. The imported ones are sourced mainly from Nepal and Delhi.

With businesses picking up fast as a result of the tourism boom, the handicraft shops in Paro have even formed a committee with a chairperson to address issues related to handicrafts.

Tourists help to drive profits in the handicraft business in Paro

The Chairperson of the committee, Tenzin Yeshi said that a decade ago, the handicraft business in Paro was already lucrative. Back in 2006, the prices of the products were high and in a day, sales worth Nu 300,000 could be made.

As the profit margin was very high, the handicraft shops in town saw a boom.

Tenzin Yeshi said that the reason for the growing popularity of handicrafts in town could be due to the strategic location of Paro as one of the country’s entry and exit points.

 

Source: Gaiora

 

“Tourists do luxury shopping of handicrafts,” he said.

Choden, 37, a mother of three used to run a garment shop. Now, she has converted it into a handicraft shop and business is looking up.

During the tourist season, she managed to earn Nu 10,000 per day whereas she could hardly earn Nu 5,000 a day with her garment shop.

Similarly, Tashi Lhamo, 34, has been running the Tara Handicraft for almost eight years now.She earns Nu 30,000 per day during the peak season. Renting a building for a handicraft shop costs between Nu 25,000-Nu 40,000 per month.

Challenges faced by the handicraft shop owners

Apart from the rising competition, another challenge has beset the handicraft shops. The local community of Tshento village has started selling handicraft products at cheaper rates as compared to the market prices.

 

Source: Waytobhutan

 

“Because of this, most tourists buy from them,” said Tashi Lhamo, a handicraft shop owner.

The chairperson of the handicraft shops committee said that competing with the community is a problem.

“They do not have to pay tax so they buy from wholesale dealers and even from the border at much cheaper rates.”

He feels the government should impose tax on them so that both the shops and the community can compete at a level playing field.

 

This article first appeared in Business Bhutan and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 


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