The Bhutan India Tourism Conclave
The Bhutan India tourism conclave which was organized by Bhutan Chamber for Commerce and Industry and Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry was held last Wednesday in the capital, aimed at enhancing tourism exchanges between Bhutan and India.
The conclave was looked at as an important forum for discussing various tourism related issues. One such issue that was discussed was Indian tourists coming Bhutan in informal ways. It is seen that many of the Indian tourists visiting Bhutan actually come on their own. The number of Indian tourist coming in informal ways actually exceeded the tourists coming in formal ways. This in fact has led to lack of good knowledge and good experiences they could actually have had if they would have come through travel agents.
The seminar was attended by various tour operators from both India and Bhutan. The Chief Guest at the ceremony, the minister for Labour and Human Recources Lyonpo, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said that it is important for both India and Bhutan to formalize the way Indian tourists come to Bhutan. There have been many instances where Indians tourist faced lot of problems as they do not consult the travel agents and come on their own. The event looked at India as one of the potential markets for tourism besides other western countries. Lots of Indian tourists have been pouring in yet many of them through unofficial means which actually is seen as disaster if continued.
Mr. Smarajit, Director of Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that he all the way from Bengal brought about tour operators mainly to let them meet the Bhutanese travel agents so that they together can have proper business exchange. He mentioned that if such seminars are conducted it can actually be beneficial for the Indian tourists to come to Bhutan through various travel agents that are there to help them to be aware of the Bhutanese taste of life.
Mr Smarajit said that about 68,000 Indians have travelled to Bhutan so far and yet most of them came to Bhutan on their own.
Some of the Indians have travelled to Bhutan as early as 1970s. One such Indian is Mr. K. K Gurung, a tour operator based in Darjeeling. He first travelled to Bhutan in 1972 with (Late) Lyonpo Dawa Tshering to trek the routes leading to Bhutan. He actually used to send tourist from all over the world to Bhutan. From what he shared, many of the tourists that he sent, when they returned was fascinated by the beauty of Bhutan.
The seminar also dis- cussed about some of the problems faced by the Indians coming to Bhutan in informal ways. It was discussed that they actually don’t know places to visit and due to lack of guidance, they end up not making the most of their stay in Bhutan. The forum is believed to be a platform for efficiency in Bhutan India tourism.
The seminar however proved to be quite beneficial for Bhutanese tour operators who does not have to travel to India to attend such seminar. Rinzin a tour operator from Gadhen Pelzom Tours and Treks said that it was quite useful for him as it gave him space to talk to various tour operators from India which actually helped him make business partners.