Un­der­cut­ting is il­le­gal: PM

Bhutan Times - - Home - Pema Yang­zom

Un­der­cut­ting is il­le­gal said the Prime Min­is­ter Dasho Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay at the meet the press ses­sion on 27 De­cem­ber in Thim­phu. It is il­le­gal that’s why gov­ern­ment has put it in a ro­bust sys­tem to pre­vent un­der­cut­ting.

Ly­onch­hen said that un­der­cut­ting be­gins with the tour op­er­a­tors be­ing re­quired to trans­fer the full amount of funds to Tourism Coun­cil of Bhutan (TCB).

The tour op­er­a­tors must col­lect the full tar­iff from the tourist and trans­fer the amount to TCB ac­counts be­fore the TCB grants visa. There is a bit of mon­e­tary also, said the Ly­onch­hen.

Ly­onch­hen also added that “We hear lots about the un­der­cut­ting but un­for­tu­nately that’s why it is all hearsay.”

Ly­onch­hen said that they can’t al­low un­der­cut­ting for a sim­ple rea­son; it goes against the pol­icy of high value and low im­pact of tourism. Fixed tar­iff has been de­ter­mined, so that we on one hand can con­trol un­der­cut­ting and on other hand to al­low tourist to visit Bhutan to have the best pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence, for that money is re­quired and there­fore we have set a min­i­mum tar­iff. It is not a fixed tar­iff but a min­i­mum tar­iff.

How­ever Ly­onch­hen said that, de­spite of fix­ing min­i­mum tar­iff many tour op­er­a­tors charge way a lot or be­yond the min­i­mum tar­iff and that is good be­cause not only that pays rev­enue to the coun­try but it also gen­er­ates bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for the tourist vis­it­ing Bhutan.

The fact is that un­less some­one has proof of un­der­cut­ting, we can­not do any­thing. Our sys­tem is ro­bust enough to pre­vent un­der­cut­ting but for those who trans­gress, we need to catch them. For that there needs to be peer to peer over­sight within the tourism in­dus­try so that they could re­port any­body who breaks the law, said the Ly­onch­hen.

So far only one case of un­der­cut­ting has come to no­tice of TCB and TCB has in­ves­ti­gated and es­tab­lished that they were un­der­cut­ting and li­cense has been can­celled, said the Ly­onch­hen.

There­fore we take it se­ri­ous but we are not sure about the un­der­cut­ting in re­al­ity be­cause peo­ple talk about it and in re­al­ity we don’t share any solid con­crete ev­i­dence based com­plaints. He said, even if you re­ceive any com­plain with­out any ev­i­dence at least we can try to in­ves­ti­gate on this.

Prime Min­is­ter said that the whole thing about un­der­cut­ting be­ing quote ram­pant need to be ques­tioned be­cause it is not the in­ter­est of the tour op­er­a­tors to un­der­cut. It is their for­go­ing self.

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