Haa and Gasa need to develop tourism products and infrastructure

Haa and Gasa need to develop tourism products and infrastructure

Dzongkhag business representatives of Bhutan Chamber for Commerce and Industry (BCCI) of Haa and Gasa raised the issue on need to develop tourism infrastructures and products for the promotion of tourists at the dzongkhags.

The issue was raised during the two-day annual general meeting of BCCI September 6 and 7.

Haa dzongkhag business representative Rinchen Khandu said that tourists do not halt nights at Haa though they visit the place. The majority of tourists visit during the day and return to Thimphu or Paro.

“To encourage tourists to halt nights at Haa, the government should come up with products and services for tourists,” said Rinchen Khandu.

He mentioned that tourists are not staying overnight because there are no products and services.

According to Bhutan Tourism Monitor (BTM), in 2018, 6,615 tourists which is 2.84% of the total arrivals and in 2017, 5,229 tourists which is 2.3% of total arrivals visited Haa.

The report states that an arrival of bed nights in 2018 was 8,095 which is 1.93% share of bed nights.

According to BTM 2018 there are three 3* hotel and 23 homestays at Haa.

Similarly, Gasa dzongkhag business representative, Namgay said that so far Gasa does not have infrastructures for the tourists’ accommodation.

He said that if government could allow private individuals to build infrastructure on government land and incentivize the constructions of tourist hotels, it would boost tourism in the dzongkhags.

He said Gasa has many tourist products and tourists should be encouraged to visit the place.

According to BTM, in 2018, 669 tourists which is 0.29% of the total arrivals and in 2017, 693 tourists which is 0.3% of the total arrivals visited Gasa.

The report states that the arrival of bed nights in 2018 was 3,341 which is 0.80% share of bed nights.

According to the BTM 2018 there are seven home stays at Gasa.

The Deputy Secretary General of BCCI, Chandra B. Chhetri said that currently the chamber is reviewing the issue submitted by the business representatives.

“After reviewing, the matter will be taken to the appropriate level with the government depending on merit of the issues,” said the deputy secretary.

He also said that for Haa, the chamber has done a profiling of tourist sites and attractions.

He said that for Gasa there is need to promote tourists as Gasa has attractions. Gasa is a tourist deficiency dzongkhag.

He also mentioned that Gasa needs infrastructure and the private sector should be encouraged with incentives.

“There should be a harmonized approach towards promoting mass tourism,” he said. 

The Director General of TCB, Dorji Dhradhul said so far they have not received any proposal for the construction of infrastructures from any private individuals.

He said that they are planning to put a proposal to the government for incentivizing private individuals who plan to construct hotels where there is no single hotel. They will also lend support.

He mentioned that in places like Thimphu and Paro, the hotels are over supplied and places like Gasa, Lhuntse, Zhemgang, Dagana and Trashiyangtse does not have a single tourist hotel. “We are targeting home stays in Gasa and if home stays are not enough TCB gives special permission of tented accommodations for the tour operators.”

Dorji Dhradul added that around 20 additional homestays will be developed in the dzongkhag.

DG said that one activity that they have planned is opening of the trek route from Lingzhi to Gasa which was a trail used by the Zhabdrung.

He said that new products for Gasa are development of Tshachuu, building roadside amenities and biking trail from Punakha and Gasa. “We will also come up with other products.

pic courtesy: facebook ( Globetrippers)

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu