Ms Christine A. Jantscher, Regional Coordinator of Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) called on Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay at the Gyalyong Tshogkhang on August 14, 2013.
Ms. Jantscher said Austria will provide sustained support in the promoting and developing three priority areas in Bhutan; Energy, Governance and Tourism. Ms Jantscher told Lyonchhen that ADC is in the process of drafting new strategies for expanding development in these core areas and garner increased economical returns.
Lyonchhen said these three sectors were chosen very wisely and the focus on energy development should not only be on hydropower but also on other alternative forms of energy like solar, wind and bio-fuels.
In the domain of governance, ADC funds projects based on strengthening democratic governance institutions with a focus on the judiciary system of Bhutan and building institutional capacity for local governments. Lyonchhen said that he personally support the judiciary and the CSOs.
On tourism, Lyonchhen said tourism services can be enhanced by training the local people, improving tourist services, developing video advertisements for television stations abroad and endorsing tourism through the social media. Lyonchhen also highlighted on developing the media sector with ADC’s aid as
many individuals and businesses are involved in this sector.
Ms. Jantscher requested Lyonchhen in assigning a director at the Royal Institute for Tourism and Hospitality (RITH) located in Motithang, Thimphu. She said the foundation for RITH is well-laid and the institution is well-equipped projecting a lot of potential in upgrading tourism services in the country. Lyonchhen said he’d ensure RITH is available so that the entire needs of the tourism sector can be addressed. Therefore, ADC’s assistance in these core engagement areas is crucial in the nation’s 11thFYP.
Lyonchhen said Austria has been supporting and providing valuable assistance to Bhutan for a very long time and for which he is extremely grateful.
“Austria is a strong supporter, a genuine friend and we value our friendship immensely. Our nation is in a stage of transition where emphasis is being placed on private and social sector development, energy and tourism. A lot more needs to done in these areas and if we collaborate and work hard, we’ll accomplish a robust economy with a vibrant employment sector in the next five years. For this, we need ADC to see us through this transition and help us in building a strong economic base,” Lyonchhen said.
Lyonchhen also met a 13-Member delegation from the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FNCCI) on the same day.
The Nepalese delegation and Lyonchhen discussed on adopting a common strategy to boost trade between the two nations. The delegation proposed on increasing investments in education sectors, hydropower projects, energy and water management strategies, promoting innovation, private sector growth, building an environment conducive to entrepreneurship, and endorsing people to people partnerships by taking the economy to grass-root levels. Lyonchhen said that it was the priority of the present government to engage and work in collaboration with the Nepal Government.
“Nepal is way ahead of Bhutan in business, commerce, markets, education, tourism, hydropower and various other service industries. I see a sea of opportunities and it’s a very good prospect for Bhutan to collaborate and work communally with Nepal. Bhutan and Nepal have a lot more in common and a lot more to share. We’ll put in collective efforts and we’ll work in co-operation so that both nations receive mutual benefits,” Lyonchhen stated.
Lyonchhen also commended the Nepalese delegation on their nation’s trade industry and expertise in manufacturing handicrafts and other religious items which constitutes most of the import from Nepal. The Nepalese delegation said that they hope the trade between Nepal and Bhutan will increase by double in the next few years.
The Nepalese delegation also presented Lyonchhen with a statue of Guru Padmasambhava along their good wishes.