Thimphu over the years has been seeing higher warm temperatures ever years with a dual impact of climate change and probable crowding of concrete buildings and vehicles generating more heat.
In 2018, the highest temperature was recorded in July with 32.5 degree celsius. Over a period of 4 years, the temperature increased by about 1.5 degrees.
With the increase in the temperature in Thimphu over the years and with so many new hotels and old hotels being upgraded into tourist standard hotels, the demand for air conditioning has shot up over the years.
According to some dealers, the decline in the price of the air conditioning is also one of the factors that have resulted in the increasing demand.
Sangeeta Rana, Executive Director of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan (HRAB) said that with the new vision of the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) to take tourism to the top and provide better experience to its visitors, the government has encouraged hotels in Thimphu to upgrade their hotels to tourist standard hotels.
She said that to upgrade into tourist standard hotel, there are certain standards that they have to follow and having an adjustable Air Conditioning is one of the mandatory requirement for the hotels.
With the increase in the number of hotels and with so many budget hotels upgrading their hotels to star hotels where they will have to provide the facility of air conditioning, the total usage of air conditioning might have increased over the years.
She said, “Although this could be one of the reasons for the increase in the number, there might be another factors like improved living standard of people and change in weather conditions particularly in Thimphu.”
Thinley Rinzin from Quality Assurance Division under the Tourism Council of Bhutan also said that though hoteliers might be buying air conditioning in large quantity, there are also government offices, schools and private individual who opted for air conditioning for varying reasons.
Dealers like Dolma Enterprise, Bhutan Building solutions and Tashi Commercial Corporation in Thimphu all said that compared to the past, the demand for air conditioners has increased which can be attributed to change in weather, decrease in the price of air conditioning and increasing number of hotels preferring air conditioning.
Manager of Dolma Enterprise, KB Mongar said that there are different types of AC and most buyers prefer AC which has the cooling and heating facility because it is more convenient and they don’t have to buy heaters and fan separately for different seasons as they can buy AC with both the facilities.
He said, “Hotels and Resorts, government offices and private individual are the one who buys AC the most and on average about 5 to 6 ACs are sold in a month. The prices of AC have also dropped compared to the past which has also resulted into the increase in the demand for AC.”
Another dealer, Bhutan Building Solution said that with so many new hotels and resorts coming in particularly in Thimphu, the demand for AC has gone up as most of the hotels today have AC facilities and I also feel that standards of hotels are determined by the kind of services it provide.
The CEO of the company, Dorji Namgay said that in the past, to import the equipment, they had to go through series of agents, suppliers, distributors and manufacturers which results into higher cost but now they can directly buy the product from the manufacturer. As they can buy it directly from the manufacturer, the cost has come down and eventually increasing the demand.
“Climate change or change in weather conditions could another factors”, he said.
Tashi Commercial Corporation also shared the same view.
According to the information from the National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the highest temperature in 2014 and 2015 was recorded in the month of July and August with the temperature of 30 degree celsius.