The government, during the 15th Meet-the-Press held on March 6, stated that communications network to the east is being enhanced in order to meet the 20% of tourist arrivals to the east within the next three years. The east-west highway widening work is under progress and the domestic air service operation is also being looked into.
Lyonchhen said with the completion of a proper quality highway, the tourists visiting the east can enjoy the drive along the beautiful dzongkhags to the east.
As for doubts on the government meeting its target as pledged, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said, “We have committed to take at least 20% of the tourists to the east and we are committed to our stand.” As of now, only about 4% of the tourist arrivals in the east are on record. “We have lot of work to do,” Lyonchhen added.
In line to the domestic airlines, he said government is seriously looking at scheduling flights from Paro to Bumthang and vice-versa. On the other hand, he added that the Yonphula Airport operation would take time due to the rebuilding works on the airport.
Meanwhile, the government is looking at starting a helicopter service with two helicopters. A decision is yet to be made on whether the helicopter service will be operated by a private entity, or through foreign direct investment, or by the government.
Lyonchhen said the government is committed to promoting tourism, not only in the east, but as a whole across the country. He also talked about developing the standard of hotels, enhancing the quality of tourist products, and increasing trekking routes.
Lyonchhen also added that having more trekking routes will help promote tourism. Therefore, the Tourism Council of Bhutan in consultation with dzongkhag authorities has identified 11treking routes and its development is under process.
PM said the domestic tourism can also be promoted by focusing on the spirituality, culture, wellbeing, adventure, entertainment and relaxation aspects. “We have a lot of potential that has not yet been tapped,” Lyonchhen added.