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

Email

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

A woman from the Brokpa tribe of Sakteng making yak butter tea. (Source: AJ Heath)

 

By Pema Seldon | The Bhutanese

In 2011, the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) provided geyser water heaters and toilet equipment to construct 23 homestays. However, only one person took up the initiative, therefore Sakteng has only one fully operational homestay currently.

An official from the SWS said, “We have provided the necessary equipment to construct homestays, but people have not been able to utilise them fully. Maybe because most tourists visiting the area preferred to camp as homestays are not able to cater to their needs.”

However, with the completion of the road, SWS official said the people in Sakteng are likely to take the opportunity and use the equipment to make homestays.

“We also encourage people to engage in ecotourism activities so that they can have alternative sources to generate income rather than just depend on their livestock.”

 

 Map: Raonline

 

In 2018, Sakteng received the highest number, about 50 to 60 tourists. The increase is due to improved accessibility and more people being aware of the districts of Merak and Sakteng.

More tourists set to visit Sakteng in future

Sakteng’s Gup, Sangay Dorji said, “From 2013 to 2017 when the Yonphula Domestic Airport in Trashigang was not operational, we didn’t see many tourists coming here. Today we see increasing number of tourists coming. According to the record maintain by the Park services, around 60 to 100 tourists visit Sakteng gewog every year.”

“In future, we are expecting more tourists to visit the village because the Yonphula airport will be operating two to three flights a week, and now the road is completed too. In the past, when there was no road, the few tourists who came here did so either by walking or by riding horses.”

He also added that 70 percent of the tourists visited Sakteng in March and April as well as during the winter season.

“While most tourists stay in homestays and the gewog (village) guestroom, a few stay in camps. About 22 houses are being converted into homestays, the work is ongoing and will be completed soon.”

 

Homestays arranged by DrukAsia

Photo: Druk Asia

 

The Tourism industry is one of the highest revenue earning sector for the government. During the past government’s tenure, in the Eastern dzongkhag (district) including Trashigang, Bhutan’s government waived the minimum daily tariff of US$65 per day for tourists visiting the eastern region.

“And expecting that more tourists to visit our village, people are also preparing for it.  From my side, I tell my people that with Yonphula airport operating again, we can expect at least 500 to 600 tourists, and we should prepare ourselves well by constructing more homestays to accommodate all tourists. We should also get ready to showcase our exclusive products like the Sakteng dress, gho, kira, hat, kabney among others.”

Tshering Drakpa, the owner of Sakteng’s only homestay said, “As more tourists visit Sakteng, the park service said people should convert houses into homestay. The park office suggested that around 20 to 22 home stays should be established.”

“I converted my house into a homestay as instructed by the park office.  I am the only person who has a homestay in Sakteng and my homestay is running successfully. There are a total of 9 beds and during the peak tourist season, all my rooms get occupied. Even local travellers stay in my homestay.”

 

Source: Youtube/Mathieu Godin

 

“I charge Nu 700 for tourists and Nu 200 to 250 for the local official. I find this business more lucrative. When I first started the business, I was worried that I might run into a loss, as not many tourists visited Sakteng and most who visited stayed in camps. But today, the number of tourists is increasing. Last year in 2018, about 60 tourists visited Sakteng,” he said.

“We are told that more tourists would visit in the future and additional homestays will be required. We are hopeful that our homestay business in Sakteng will boom with the increase in the number of tourists,” he added.

Some challenges to overcome

According to the Sakteng Mangmi, Dendup, “When people from outside come into the village, it will have both positive and negative impact. In the past when we didn’t have many visitors from outside, things like plastic bottles, beer bottles and plastics are not seen in the village and we didn’t have any waste and the place was so clean, but now, with the different people coming in, different things are brought inside and various waste are littered everywhere in the village.”

Morever, in Sakteng, language barrier is another issue because most of the tourist guides speak Dzongkha and only a few speak Sharchop. Though a few people in Sakteng can speak and understand Sharchop, many still speak the Sakteng language.

“So I feel it is important that we need to train our young boys and girls if they want to hire a local guide. If we get an opportunity to meet officials from the Tourism Council of Bhutan, we will raise this issue and provide support for the training of local guides.”

 

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

 

 


Tag Cloud

Related Posts

Advocating For A Central School For The Sakteng Community In...

Mangmi Lhendrup said that without boarding facilities, small children were left without care and guidance from their...

Jun 16, 2019 23:58

Observing World Health Day in the Highlands of Merak and Sakteng

“Bhutan provides free health services to its people and by expanding the services to remote areas like Merak, it shows...

Apr 12, 2018 00:20

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary To Adopt Climate Vulnerability...

The project will involve climate change vulnerability assessment of terrestrial and aquatic life, and communities in SWS...

Aug 07, 2017 13:28

Study Finds Homestays And Eco-tourism Helped Preserve Bhutan’s...

The evaluation found that 98 percent of the homestays used exclusive traditional products like local food products and...

Aug 25, 2018 16:17

Haa Develops Tourism Action Plan To Promote Its Rich Cultural...

Haa had the 6th highest visitor arrivals among the dzongkhags in the country, according to the Bhutan Tourism Monitor...

Jul 26, 2018 08:23

Loss of the Brokpa Dress Culture in Bhutan

The impact of declining sheep rearing practice would lead to the loss of the brokpa dress culture, which is unique in...

Mar 28, 2018 17:57

Latest

News

The Great Fourth King and Fifth King of Bhutan on Royal Tours amid the COVID-19 pandemic brought tears to many Bhutanese.

Many Bhutanese people eyes brimmed with tears. The heart was a knot of inexplicable emotions when they saw His Majesty the fourth King...

Oct 07, 2020 09:16

Australia supports Bhutan in its COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery

Extending support to Bhutan in its fight against COVID-19, the Australian Government has supplied medical equipment in response to the Royal...

Sep 22, 2020 09:39

Features

Significance of the Stupa of two lovebirds across Lungtenzampa- the Bridge of Prophecy

According to the caretaker, many believe that couple who wishes to have children gets their wishes fulfilled if they pray at this sacred...

Oct 17, 2020 17:32

Age of Information Technology in Bhutan

Information technology is evolving rapidly. Bhutan cannot escape the influence of Information Technology, rather Bhutan must invest in...

Oct 15, 2020 21:42

Sports

Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Business

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Are Local Vendors Earning More Money Than the Civil Servant?

A Farmer from Lango, Paro gave up farming to be vendor while office goers are switching into agriculture as the remedy to curb their...

Jul 27, 2020 19:15

Travel

Domestic Tourism to boost Local Economy in Bhutan

Although Bhutanese have not seen tourists for the last few months, locals are riding the bandwagon of being "tourists in one's own...

Oct 13, 2020 21:26

A Winning Chance to Visit the Most Isolated Kingdom in the World

Participate in Druk Asia Bhutan Trivia and stand a chance to win a pair of return flight tickets to Bhutan

Sep 29, 2020 12:14

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!