The Bhutan In­dia Tourism Con­clave

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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.

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