The Hotel sector has been affected by COVID-19 pandemic as there is not a single tourist in the country. Many hotels in the country are either closed down or given to the government as quarantine centers.
However, one hotel, has decided to turn into a hostel for bachelors.
The founder of Go Bhutan Ventures and the owner of Thimphu Affordable Apartments and Hostel Services, Tshewang Pelber, said that the hotel business has been hit the hardest in the country since there is no tourism due to the pandemic.
“Every hotel has more than 20 staff working, and at the moment, due to the pandemic, it has affected everyone. We paid our staff for six months though there was no business. We even tried to turn the hotel into a quarantine center, but the staff were quite reluctant to work and it was very hectic, so we closed down,” he said.
He said that it was his dream to open an affordable apartment and hostel services in the past since there was a housing crunch in the capital, and this pandemic has given him with the opportunity to start one.
“I don’t know how successful it will be, but I am seeing a good business opportunity ahead. Especially the bachelors and the youth who are staying in the capital with less income, and who are not able to afford an apartment. It will be a good opportunity for them as well. House rent in the capital cost around Nu 10,000 minimum, and the hostel services we are going to provide will cost around Nu 3,500 per month as rent and the meals available are cheaper too, and the laundry will be free. You can occupy one room at an affordable rate,” he said.
He added, “We have around 25 rooms, and we are already getting calls from the people and they are booking the rooms. At the starting point, it will be good for us if we can differentiate the rooms for different genders, like the top to be given to male and so on, but if the business flourishes, we will have separate hostels for both male and female, however, a couple can stay together as long as discipline is maintained but we have not yet decided on it. It will be a challenging point if we give specific rooms for both the genders, but we will see what we can do.”
He also added that tourism will take time to bounce back, and he sees no business for five years down the line and so he will continue the hostel business.
“I feel this business will flourish. If other property owners are offering properties at affordable rates, we might take them up too,” he said.