The expected budget for the Tourism Stimulus Plan is Nu 286 million (mn) which will be adjusted from the Nu 1.5 billion (bn) which was kept for the tourism flagship program.
The Director General of Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), Dorji Dhradhul, said that TCB has reprioritized its entire tourism flagship program to help those affected by COVID-19.
He said that about 2,436 people in the tourism industry stands to benefit from the Tourism Stimulus Plan.
“Through online registration, we received 3,379 who have registered under TCB and 2,436 were validated after crosschecking and these include, guides, tour operators, drivers and cooks,” he said.
He said that they will go under different projects and the budget costing is Nu 160.20 mn.
“They will be deployed under four different projects. They will go in infrastructure and product development, training and re-skilling, waste management and surveys, studies or services. They will be engaged under different projects, and we will provide them Nu 20,000 per month for working,” he said.
The stimulus package has proposed a payment of Nu 6,000 a month for training and re-skilling and Nu 15,000 a month salary for construction and development work.
He said that the project will have activities, like construction of roadside amenities, site development at Taktshang and waste management, will include activities, like cleaning campaigning along the trekking routes.
He also said that Taktshang will be dedicated or labeled as a silent trail.
“Once we start maintaining the trail, Taktshang will be labeled as a silent trail and all the tourist and locals have to maintain silence when they go through this trail,” he said.
Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering asked if TCB could make the entire major trekking routes in the dzongkhags to be connected with the national highway as far as possible.
The Prime Minister also suggested for making TransBhutan Trail to be a mountain bikeable from the beginning as it will be a good tourism attraction.
“If the entire major trail is made mountain bikeable, it will bring a product itself. If social amenities are also built, it will attract people and collect some fees as well,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also suggested that TCB should have a project office that could work around the clock.
Meanwhile, Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) has requested the Lonely Planet and Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) for an extension of the best travel destination 2020 recognition awarded to Bhutan until 2021.
Bhutan was named the Lonely Planet Country of 2020 and recognized as the Best Travel Destination for Happy Tourism for 2020 by PATWA. The recognitions were good publicity for Bhutan. Lonely Planet is the largest and most popular travel guidebook publisher while PATWA is a professional organization of travel writers.