5 Sep 2014

Demand for Tonga handicraft courses high

8:41 am on 5 September 2014

Organisers of courses in handicraft making and cultural tourism in Tonga say there is now a staggering demand from people wanting to be trained.

The pilot training programme is provided by the Tonga Handicrafts and Cultural Tourism Support Programme, funded by NZAid.

It's national coordinator, Monalisa Palu, says more than 600 certificates of completion have been handed out since it began two years ago.

She says the courses have two components, learning the handicrafts skills and marketing and tourism awareness.

"So when they're making things, they used to make the big alibaba baskets, but now they understand their customers actually prefer smaller items, that don't take up all their luggage space. So just letting them know more about who they are targetting, and giving them the technical skills."

Monalisa Palu says it's all about enhancing people's livelihoods and because the word is getting out, more and more people are requesting to take part.