A tourism office in every dzongkhag in east and central region to promote tourism

The government will establish a tourism office in every Dzongkhag in eastern and central regions of the country.

The Economic Affairs Minister, Loknath Sharma, said this at the Parliament session yesterday.

Establishing a tourism office in every district will help to promote tourism across the country, said Lyonpo. “Community-based tourism will be continued and we are also working on making feasible plans and policies to promote and develop the tourism sector.”

The minister was responding to Member of Parliament (MP) from Bardo-Trong Constituency in Zhemgang, Gyambo Tshering, who questioned about the plans to develop tourism in the central and eastern Bhutan.

MP Gyambo Tshering said that tourism sector provides long-term employment opportunities and helps to generate revenue, which helps both rural and urban areas.

The Economic Affairs Minister also said that in order to promote tourism in the east, the past government had waived off the daily royalty of US$ 65 a day for a tourist during their stay in the six eastern dzongkhags.

“The waiving of the daily royalty is promoting tourism in the east and such initiatives will definitely help develop tourism in the region in the long term,” said Lyonpo. “We will continue it.”

Further, the minister said that the construction of restrooms along the highway of Yotongla, Mongar and the bird festivals in Zhemgang are some of initiatives that the government has undertaken towards the end. “We also plan to develop tourism by providing different types of trainings and workshops, teaching people how to use tourist-oriented resources carefully,” added Lyonpo.

Tourism sector development is one of the flagship agendas in the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP). “Action plans and policies for the development of tourism are already in the pipeline,” said Lyonpo.

The minister also said that the government will work towards promoting tourism in every dzongkhag equally.

Meanwhile, tourist arrivals increased to 4,352 in September 2018 from 3,301 in August 2018. Tourist arrivals in Bhutan averaged 3,794 from 2009 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 11,277 in June 2011 and a record low of 459 in September 2013, according to visitor arrival statistics maintained by Tourism Council of Bhutan. 

A total of 37,994 tourists arrived in 2018 in nine months (January-September), and 254,704 tourist arrivals including 183,287 regional tourists were recorded with a growth of 14.1% in 2017. The overall growth is 21.5% from 2016.

Jigme Wangchen from Thimphu