Government committed to balanced development in Tourism

Government committed to balanced development in Tourism

Tourism is not important just for the government to earn revenue. It is important as there are many stakeholders of the industry, who depend on it. Further, the government is committed towards ensuring balanced development in tourism across the country.

This was the core message from Prime Minister (PM) Dasho Tshering Tobgay to question posed by Member of Parliament (MP), Lamdra Wangdi of Nganglam constituency. The MP highlighted that it is crucial to establish tourist entry and exit points at Jomotshangkha, Nganglam, Panbang, Samtse, and other necessary border points.

The PM responded that one of the main problems of opening Samdrup Jongkhar to dollar paying tourists is the absence of an Indian Immigration Office at the border. However, the PM shared the house that the Phuentsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar check points will soon be opened for the third country tourist as the Indian government will soon be opening immigration office in the two check points. But the PM said it will be difficult to do the same in Panbang and Jomotsangkha immediately.

The PM said that that balanced regional development of the tourism sectors is important and that the government has been working with concerned agencies. He said that the government is focusing on quality of tourist in the country.

In addition, the PM highlighted on the development of the eastern highway, and the purchase of helicopters. He said that one chopper has already been procured and that the government is looking into procuring a chopper that can carry more people. Further, the government is working on building new airports. The PM also informed that through the Global Environment Fund (GEF) five districts in the east have been identified for eco-tourism.

Meanwhile, the PM also informed that Pongchila airport in Mongar has been identified as not suitable for establishment of an airfield, from the 15 that have been identified. However, the PM said that he has asked the experts to relook and review the status of Pongchila as an airfield there would benefit the region and the country.

Similarly, the PM responded to the MP that the governmentโ€™s commitment to bring in 300,000, tourists, of which 50% will be those coming from third world countries. The government expressed optimism about this goal and stated that it is actively working toward it, emphasizing quality tourism in the nation.

Meanwhile, the PM said that the tourism sector plays a vital role in the development of every individual including the tour operators, farmers, and guides, business sectors such as hotels, restaurant, and shops, amongst others.

By Sherab Dorji, Thimphu