Tourism pol­icy doesn’t im­plies to re­gional tourist: Eco­nomic Af­fairs Min­is­ter

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

The Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from Chumey-Ura Con­stituency MP, Tshe­wang Jurmey ques­tioned the Min­is­ter for Eco­nomic Af­fairs with re­gard to the num­ber of re­gional tourist ar­rivals in the coun­try and the mech­a­nism of tourism pol­icy dur­ing the ques­tion and an­swer hour ses­sion last Fri­day in the na­tional assem­bly.

He added that re­gional tourist while vis­it­ing the coun­try, where they don’t re­quire tour guide, don’t have to pay tar­iff, even they do pre­pare their own food and they don’t bother to clean the place and be­sides they use ve­hi­cle of their own.

He also ques­tioned that in other ways, if we make pol­icy for the balance re­gional tourist that it is manda­tory to stay in ho­tels above three star which will af­fect other ho­tels.

He fur­ther ques­tioned if the tourism pol­icy im­plies to re­gional tourist if not he ques­tioned that it is not nec­es­sary to have pol­icy for re­gional tourist.

In re­sponse to the ques­tion, the min­is­ter for eco­nomic af­fairs Ly­onpo Lekey Dorji said that the num­ber of re­gional tourist ar­rived since 2011, tourists had vis­ited and there is in­creas­ing trend for both re­gional and in­ter­na­tional tourist

Ly­onpo said that the pol­icy of high value, low im­pact tourism pol­icy has been prac­tic­ing since many years; the pol­icy is not new to us. Al­though we had the tourism pol­icy, but tourism pol­icy will not im­plies to re­gional tourist.

He added that be­cause of de­vel­op­ment they felt that it has some prob­lems so they had drafted re­gional tourist man­age­ment strat­egy. The strat­egy had been drafted in con­sul­ta­tion with Royal Bhutan Po­lice (RBP), Of­fice of Con­sulate gen­eral in Cal­cutta and Road Safety and Trans­port Au­thor­ity (RSTA).

That was ini­ti­ated by Tourism Coun­cil of Bhutan (TCB) but draft is only for pi­lot ba­sis. In the draft it had been stated how the stake- hold­ers should func­tion.

For re­gional tourist they don’t re­quired visa, they may en­ter by air or they may en­ter via Phuentshol­ing. So for that from TCB, the on­line sys­tem had been made but it is still on un­der trail.

The tourism pol­icy will not im­ply to re­gional tourist as tourism pol­icy which re­quire tourist to pay US$250 per day and the re­quire­ment to stay in tourist cer­ti­fied ho­tel doesn’t ap­ply to re­gional tourist. There­fore, they felt that it is nec­es­sary to draft pol­icy for the re­gional tourist also.

The Ly­onpo also said with re­gard to the mea­sures taken by gov­ern­ment for the re­gional tourist as the tourist will have to fol­low the tourism pol­icy of “high value, low vol­ume/im­pact”.

Ly­onpo said that they have mea­sures in place for as­sign­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity to each rel­e­vant agency like im­mi­gra­tion’s role and the po­lice’s role. They have also de­signed on­line sys­tem as al­ter­na­tive mea­sures, in­clud­ing dos and don’ts which are clearly spec­i­fied in their pass.

In fu­ture, Depart­ment of Im­mi­gra­tion and TCB will im­prove this on­line sys­tem which will de­cide itin­er­ary in ad­vance, and other re­quire­ments of ho­tel and travel de­tails and guide re­quire­ments will also be checked as per the rules and it will be mon­i­tored by Royal Bhutan Po­lice, Ly­onpo added.

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