Selling Crafts to Tourists
Posted on: September 13, 2012, by : Crafty Sue Your Host

sellingtotouristsSelling Crafts And Other Products to Tourists :

A Guide for Craft Producers Source: North Central Regional Center for Rural Development ID: NCR445 Authors: Gahring, Sherri; Niemeyer, Shirley; Reilly, Rae; Stout, Jane Ann Year: 1992

The travel and tourism industry is the third largest employer in the United States, supporting over 5.85 million travel-related jobs. Foreign and domestic visitors traveling in the United States generate over $327 billion in tourism revenues in a year, making travel and tourism the third largest retail sales industry.*


The percent of the total tourist dollar being spent on shopping is on the rise. Marketing an area’s specialties including crafts and other products can be one way to take advantage of this trend and help to diversity the economic base of a rural area or community.

*A research team from Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska, gathered information from more than 1400 individuals on ways to improve the marketing of crafts and other products to tourists. Participants included tourists, craft producers, and retailers who sell crafts. Much of what tourists told us about their travel interests and activities has implications for tourist communities, tourist attractions, and hospitality services as well as for craft producers and retailers. Here are the major research findings and suggestions for you to consider. Tourists shop

Shopping is an important activity for tourists. After meals and lodging they report spending most money on: – T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other clothes with a name or design representing the location or attraction

– Crafts

– Local food products (not meals)

Almost 70% buy gifts ahead of time for holidays, birthdays, and similar events.

Craft buying by tourists

The tourists in our study told us they look for crafts to use and display in their home. They also enjoy seasonal and holiday items. Their favorite craft medium is wood, followed by nature materials and fabric.

How do tourists find places to buy crafts?

Over 50% of the tourists used these sources to find crafts in a community or within the state: tourist brochures or state travel packets; local shops; magazines or newspaper articles; travel magazines and guide books; people who have been there before; directory or map of art or craft, locations or events; information at the hotel, either written or from hotel personnel; local residents; and ads in local papers. They made less use of travel agents, tour guides, or telephone books for this information.

Where do tourists shop for crafts?

Tourists are most likely to shop for crafts at craft fairs and festivals, craft shops, and gift shops carrying both crafts and other types of gift products. Many enjoy shopping in a historic house typical of the region or shop with a rustic appearance.

How much do tourists spend on a craft item?

That depends on the person receiving it. The tourists in our study tend to spend:

– $20-30 for a craft item for themselves, a close friend, or relative

– $10-20 on a craft item meant for other adults and children on their gift list (including people tending plants and mail while they are away)

– $5-10 on token gifts for coworkers.

Displays, orderliness, and written information help sell crafts

While tourists find a large selection of crafts filling every nook and cranny of a shop is desirable, they appreciate neatly arranged displays to bring a sense of order. Displays featuring ways to use and display crafts in the home help sell crafts since some tourists want assistance visualizing ways to use crafts in their homes. Tourists want written information on care, safety, materials used, and ways to use the craft items.

Products Tourists Generally Buy (% of tourists buying)

Postcards and booklets about sites visited – 72%. T-shirts

Craft preferences: They are attracted to timeless crafts such as:

– Ethnic crafts – Folk art – Designer crafts – Traditional crafts of the region sweatshirts, other clothes with name or picture of location or attraction – 68% Keywords Craft fairs Craft industry Craft shows Selling crafts Selling to Tourists

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