Handicraft sales fall to near zero as currency slides to new low

January 18, 2023 - 22:0

TEHRAN - Handicraft sales in Isfahan have dropped to near zero as Iranian currency slides to a new low over the past couple of weeks, IMNA quoted Isfahan’s head of the handicrafts union as saying on Wednesday.

“We are currently dealing with some issues as a result of a new decline in Iranian currency (against the U.S. dollar), resulting in an unprecedented recession in the handicrafts market to the point where the sales of these days are close to zero,” Majdoddin Taj explained.

That currency devaluation has soared in the price of raw materials, he said. “Some 80% of [Isfahan’s] traditional handicrafts are made of copper, and the increase in the price of this metal has made a huge impact on their sales.”

Furthermore, the expert outlined the kinds of protection the government can provide to craftspeople in terms of marketing, incentives, tourism prosperity, and cultural events.

He stressed the need for greater support from the government to add: “Having enormous copper industries in our country, a special quota for copper should be dedicated to handicraft artists.”

“This way, craftspeople do not have to buy copper material through the stock exchange so that intermediaries and other mediators will be removed from their purchases.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, he reminded handicraft sales happening in several ways; through exports and retail customers that include domestic or foreign travelers.

“With today’s tough economic outlook, buying a handicraft is not a priority for households.”

His talk on the issue defined recent travel cancellations as the other reason for the recession. “A blow to our sales has happened through trip cancelations.”

According to data compiled by Isfahan’s tourism directorate, more than 8,000 foreign tourists have canceled their trips to Isfahan over the past few months, he said.

“If every tourist spends $5,000 on average, it will become a considerable number. Unfortunately, despite the recent events and disturbances, this great economic benefit has not been achieved.”

Furthermore, the expert reminded sister cities of Isfahan as a great help. “Holding joint exhibitions in sister cities is highly recommended as a solution to promote exquisite works.”

In addition to generating income, such a presence will help to highlight the arts, culture, and civilization of Iran and Isfahan in particular, he stated.

Isfahan, which is home to about 3,000 artisans and is sometimes referred to as Iran's handicraft industry's crown jewel, is where its craftspeople work to preserve knowledge passed down from generation to generation.