Rebuilding Tourism

According to the State of Nation Report, the pandemic had a disproportionately negative impact on Bhutanese working in the tourism sector, resulting in unemployment due to the temporary shutdown of tourism businesses and other tourism-related enterprises.

According to the Tourism Establishment Census of Bhutan 2021, a total of 52,174 individuals in the sector had been affected.

As per the report, the SOP for tourism service providers under the new normal was developed in preparation for the eventual reopening of the industry. “This will ensure the health and safety of tourists and service providers while improving travel experience for tourists through “Clean and Safe” certification,” the report stated.

Currently, training on the certification is being conducted for hoteliers and tourist restaurants in Thimphu, Paro, Wangduephodrang, Punakha, Haa, and Bumthang.

The government established a strategy for the digitization of Bhutan’s tourism sector in order to better harness technology to improve service delivery.

In addition, work on improving the online visa system, the Tashel costing system, system integration with other agencies, and the building of a tourist site and data dashboard has been initiated.

The promotion of Brand Bhutan is being carried out by keeping the Brand Bhutan visible and alive in the minds of potential tourists by engaging in selective promotional activities.

Domestic tourism has been boosted through the creation of integrated circuit products and infrastructures, for which a Druk Neykor platform has been developed.

From construction of three roadside amenities in Bumthang to identification of 10 more village homestays in Gasa to construction of a bird watching deck in Zhemgang, the government gave major facelifts to local infrastructures. In Zhemgang, they upgraded the Duenmang Tsachhu.

Additionally, about 91.56 km of trails have been improved in Bumthang and Trashiyangtse.

In February 2021, the Cabinet initiated the standardization and regulation of non-star rated (budget) hotels in the country.

The Blue Poppy minimal criteria were created to increase the level and quality of the hotels in accordance with the overall accommodation standardization and categorization system.

Six dzongkhags are now undergoing a nationwide awareness campaign about Blue Poppy Hotel standards.

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