Identifying The Unique Selling Points Of Each District Of Bhutan To Promote A More ‘Balanced' Tourism

Email

The different dzongkhags (districts) are also identifying various unique tourism products in their communities to promote tourism.

Masked dancers of Bhutan. (Source: Facebook/Arte-Ciencia)

 

By Tshering Palden Kuensel

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) is working on a plan and strategy to make the sector the number one contributor to its economy, instead of relying heavily on the hydropower sector.

To promote a more balanced tourism in the country, the Tourism Council of Bhutan is proposing a flagship programme in five identified dzongkhags in the 12th Five-Year Plan.

The government will focus more in a few identified dzongkhags (districts) such as Dagana, Gasa, Lhuentse, Zhemgang and Samtse. However, the council is yet to present the proposal to the cabinet.

 

 

Photo: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2017

 

This information was shared at the first National Tourism Conference held in Thimphu from 27-28 February.

The TCB stated that the first presentation for the proposed flagship programme was made to the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC).

Plans to spread tourism more evenly throughout the different districts of Bhutan

“The dzongkhags are identified by looking at the low arrivals of tourists. The other reason is on the way to these dzongkhags, other dzongkhags will be covered too,” said Dorji Dhradrul, the Director General of TCB.

He added that under the programme, the other 15 districts will also have specific projects lined up.

 

Source: Youtube/Mario Scrittore Biondi

 

Building infrastructures, developing more products and hosting crowd-pulling events such as the Black-necked Crane and Royal Highland festivals are some of the strategies to promote a more ‘balanced’ tourism.

Promoting the unique products and features of each dzongkhags

The different dzongkhags are also identifying various unique tourism products in their communities to promote tourism.

The Foreign Minister, Dr Tandi Dorji said that the local governments should work on developing unique selling points.

He said that under the new flagship programme in the tourism sector that the government is initiating, every gewog should develop and promote its unique selling point to attract tourists.

 

The highly-prized cordyceps from the highlands of Laya in Bhutan.

Photo: Bhutan Natural

 

He said, “We cannot keep demanding that tourism be spread out without providing something for the tourists to do.”

Challenges faced in developing tourism in certain areas of Bhutan

However, restrictions imposed on foreigners visiting certain places, besides sacred areas have posed as major challenges to the local authorities.

The role of the Home Ministry of Bhutan is to sustain the tradition and culture of the country.

The Home Minister, Sherub Gyeltshen said that there were issues in developing tourism products at the village level because of religious sentiments and prejudices.

“We must maintain the sanctity of the annual festivals such as drubchens and tshechus,” the Lyonpo said.

Different versions of festivals and cultural products have to be developed in consultation with the religious community of Bhutan and the communities for foreign visitors.

 

 

Photo: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2017

 

“We have not thought of doing that but considering the significance of generating revenue, there is a need for such measures,” he said.

Strategies needed to make tourism sustainable in Bhutan

“If we don’t have a niche in the market, tourism cannot be sustainable.”

Sherub Gyeltshen added that Bhutan has plenty to offer tourists, such as the distinctive local breeds of livestock and environmental attributes, besides its exotic traditions and cultures.  

For instance, the local species of cattle have a larger significance than producing milk alone.

“However, with change, the commercial aspects are gaining priority over religious sentiments and belief systems and hybrid cattle are now imported.”

Should the Bhutanese lose focus on the larger interest of protecting the original local identities, the country could gradually lose out even on tourism.

But the renewed impetus on tourism could change this and give the country some hope, the Minister said.

“If we can keep the belief systems strong, maintain a vibrant tradition and culture, no other country can compete with us.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

Taking Tourism To The Top – Conference Addressed Issues And Steps...

The Lyonchhen said that the government was committed to taking tourism to the ‘top’, in alignment with the theme of the...

Mar 01, 2019 10:15

Bhutan Received 71,417 International Visitors In 2017; Singapore,...

In 2017, Bhutan received 71,417 international visitors and the revenue earned was USD 79m, the highest arrival and...

Dec 03, 2018 11:25

In Its Third Year, The Royal Highland Festival In Laya Showcases...

Laya was turned into a hub of celebration as the Third Royal Highland Festival got underway from 23-24 Oct 2018.

Oct 25, 2018 17:59

Heading To Haa, Bhutan For The Summer Festival? Here Are Some...

Savour the most delectable cuisine from the province of Haa in Bhutan.

Jul 13, 2018 14:54

A Tourism Office Slated To Be Established In Every District In...

Establishing a tourism office in every district will help to promote tourism across the country, said the Lyonpo.

Jan 16, 2019 08:16

Govt. to Waive Royalty for Tourists Visiting Eastern Bhutan

“Tourists visiting eastern dzongkhags need not pay the daily fee of USD 65 once the proposal comes through,” he said....

Nov 15, 2017 07:18

Latest

News

Bhutan’s GDP Growth Projected By IMF To Be Above Global Average

According to the World Bank, Bhutan's GDP growth is expected to jump to 7.4 percent this fiscal year.

Oct 21, 2019 22:08

Snowman Run – As Important As It Is For Bhutan, The Run Is For The World

The run was envisioned by His Majesty The King after multiple visits to the highlands.

Oct 14, 2019 20:28

Features

Buckwheat From Bhutan Gaining Popularity For Its Nutritional And Medicinal Values

Buckwheat flour is often used to make delicious pancakes or noodles in Bhutan.

Oct 23, 2019 21:58

How Bhutan Managed To Maintain 72% Of Its Land Under Forest Cover

This widely acclaimed feat was made possible, kudos to the far-sighted vision of a handful of people in the past.

Oct 22, 2019 21:55

Sports

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58

Business

Cottage & Small Industries Flagship Programme Rolled Out In Bhutan, Set To Create More Jobs

The CSI sector was identified as one the flagship programme in view of its greater socio-economic roles in Bhutan.

Oct 11, 2019 15:38

Bhutan’s Himalayan Food Aims To Produce Healthy Snacks With A Worldwide Reach

Himalayan Food currently produces potato chips, apple chips and banana chips.

Sep 25, 2019 23:58

Travel

7th Jomolhari Mountain Festival Showcases Unique Culture Of The Highlanders

The festival has become an important event where the highlanders get to showcase their unique culture and traditions.

Oct 15, 2019 23:28

Plans In The Pipeline To Set Up More Homestays In Sakteng, Eastern Bhutan

We are hopeful that our homestay business in Sakteng will boom with the increase in the number of tourists."

Oct 12, 2019 12:43

Lifestyle

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Critically Acclaimed Film - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Showcases The Magic Of Bhutan’s Highlands

Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, this highly acclaimed movie has been accepted for more than 10 international film festivals.

Sep 23, 2019 23:28

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!