381 layoffs from tourism sector engaged

So far, 381 employees laid off from the tourism sector have been engaged gainfully in short-term intervention to provide livelihood for them, according to officials from the Economic Contingency Plan unit at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The government has approved Nu 200mn for the Tourism Council of Bhutan to address the challenges faced due to COVID-19 and fight against it. 

During the press briefing, the ECP delivery unit said that they are looking into both long term and short term measures to help the economy.

The ECP delivery unit said that since the tourism, agriculture and construction sectors are directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is accelerating and reprioritizing the 12th FYP activities.

The team member also said that in the tourism sector, they are providing gainful engagement like skills programs, developing tourism infrastructure like roadside amenities and face-lifting of trail routes.

“Some of the work has already started,” said officials from the ECP delivery unit, “Our first priority is to those who are laid off. We have to make sure that they have source of income.”

The team also said that in the long-term, they are looking into improving the tourism governance and preparing the tourism sector to open up once the travel restriction is lifted.

While the tourism sector claims that it will take more than a year to recover, the ECP delivery unit said that it is a difficult situation for the planners because it ultimately depends on how the pandemic will be contained.

“We cannot predict the future. However there are activities which will go until October this year not only for three months,” said an official from the ECP delivery unit.   

The team member also said that based on the situation, they will be able to come up with other plans. “The situation itself is dynamic and evolving and it is very difficult to come up concrete plan as of now.”

So far TCB has started trail route maintenance of Dagala trail with 14 groups, Drukpath with 21 people, Jomolhari-Soi Yaaksa with 17 people and Bumdra trek with 17 people.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu