The Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO) launched Tourism Information and Management System (TIMS) and Rural Eco-tourism Products and Services (REPS) for tour operators on January 26.
With support from Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, ABTO took up the project to create an ICT platform to showcase rural community tourism products and services for promotion through tour operators.
This is expected to bridge the gap between rural providers and clients to congregate online and mutually translate these products and services into viable and profitable tourism business.
According to the Executive Director of ABTO, Sonam Dorji, the proposed system has been developed as part of the ABTO website interface of visibility, effective marketing and creating immediate impact on the project since tour operators are familiar with the ABTO website.
REPS is an initiative to provide all the stakeholders in the industry a platform to have firsthand information on rural community tourism products and services that are otherwise little known and missed.
It provides rural communities the opportunity to promote and market their products and services while also providing tour operators and consumers the chance to see what is available through a centralized online system to help them plan and diversify their packages.
The system is piloted by initially engaging three community groups of Bumthang, Wangduephodrang and Haa. The system will be then introduced and extended to other community groups after successful implementation in the three regions.
“ABTO will make consistent effort to scale up the initiatives across the country by engaging as many rural community groups as possible and ensure that more community groups from across Bhutan will be benefited through this online system,” said Sonam Dorji.
Currently, the platform will have information currently on community products and services, mainly farmhouses and home stays of three regions (Haa, Bumthang and Phobjikha) online.
More regions will be added cumulatively as capacity of community groups develop and more products and services are offered by different groups.
Each product and service provider in the community is listed with its description, location, contact numbers, services offered to tourists, overview of the facilities, activities that guests and participate in attractions near the community, image gallery of the establishment and its facilities and attractions, rates and easy booking option.
Meanwhile, TIMS is an integrated tourism management system designed for Bhutanese tour operators.
The ERP system with seamlessly integrated modules helps automate and streamline almost all records, data analysis and reporting requirements of a tour company while significantly reducing usage of papers.
TIMS will be a fully integrated package having seamless flow of information among different sections of the tour company. It is expected to completely automate and systematize operation of the tour company.
“It makes tour operation much more dynamic through effective use of your company’s resources, streamlining administrative functions for higher efficiency and productivity, higher visibility and easy overview of your tour company’s operations to facilitate better planning and decision making,” said Sonam Dorji.
He further said that TIMS is a great tool to spot areas where savings can be made, operations streamlined and opportunities lost due to lack of overall integrated view can be monitored.
Pema Seldon from Thimphu