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