GAB proposes area-specific guides

Guides Association of Bhutan (GAB) is proposing for area-specific guides at monument sites in the country.

The objective of area-specific guides is to provide correct and uniform information to tourists.

The Director General of TCB, Dorji Dhradhul said that TCB will support this proposal.

The Chairperson of GAB, Garab Dorji said that guides will be specialized on particular monuments or sites.

He said that guides will be able to answer any questions asked about the monuments or sites since he or she will have in-depth knowledge about it.

The chairman also said that more over time, since monuments and temples are small they get crowded as they were never built for big  gatherings but with area-specific guides, this problem will be solved  since they will take tourists in groups and on timely basis.

“In fact, we already have for regional tourists in Thimphu, Paro and  Punakha  in all the dzongs and Lhakhangs. We just need to include dollar paying tourists in this  scheme  so that overcrowding can be avoided, better information provided  and tourists managed better; also noise  pollution  can be controlled,” said the chairman.

At the moment with regional tourists, the guide explains about the mument within 30 minutes with group size ranging from one to 20 pax.

However, more than 20 pax need a better management system so that all the tourists visiting temples and dzongs can be managed on that same day efficiently “but definitely we need to fix timing and employ more guides”, said the chairman.

“I feel that with the increase in number of tourists, the need and urgency to have guides in almost all the temples till Bumthang especially in small temples like Kichu lhakhang in Paro and Jambey lhakhang in Bumthang is felt strongly,” he said.

At the moment area-specific guides are strongly recommended for regional tourists.  GAB has area-specific guides in Takstang, Kyichu and Rinchenpung Dzong in Paro, Tashichhoedzong in Thimphu and Pungthang Decehenphodrang in Punakha.

Currently, regional tourist guides are paid Nu 17,000 a month with a contract period of one year.

Chairperson said that they are supposed to be experts on their respective monuments. “In fact, regional tourists have complimented that area-specific guides are exceptionally good and they need to be not just good but great.”

“This will also give our national guides a break. They work the whole day.  Our tourist guides work minimum 15 hours a day,” said the chairperson.

Meanwhile TCB has also revised the entry fee for regional tourists at the monuments and historical sites from January 1 next year.

The fees is revised from Nu 300 to Nu 500 to visit Tashichhodzong, Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, Rinpung dzong,Kichu Lhakhang in Paro and Punakha dzong. For students, it is revised from Nu 150 to Nu 250.

TCB will also introduce entry fees for Changangkha Lhakhang and Chimi Lhakhang from January next year.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu