Yes, we have deep respect for those tourists, who visit the places and observe the real festivals with the natives and enjoy them to the fullest. Such foreigners will get more out of Bhutan and their visits. In my opinion, most tourists would like to see something like that and experience real Bhutan and not the one that’s artificially created for them. They would like to spend some time interacting with our farmers.
Our people need to maintain clean rooms and cook hygienic food. Such skills can be provided to the people in the rural villages. If only that happens can we see the benefit of tourism being shared with all. Because, right now, only those who own big restaurants in urban centers and those who own major tour companies are the ultimate beneficiaries. That way we will have rich people getting richer while the poor will remain more or less a mere spectator of this ever happening tourism sector.
We need to think of new tourist destinations. For now, almost every tour company sells almost the same tour packages. And that would one day bore tourists to the point of no return. That is really bad. The risk is that one day, things would become so monotonous that our visitors would rather visit some cheaper places that offer creative tour packages. We don’t want that to happen, do we?
And look at the handicrafts that are sold in Bhutanese shops. I heard they are imported from our neighboring countries. Why are we even promoting such cheap products, in the first place? Why do we need to promote them? Should we put an end to such products?
Thinking of short term gain will cost us dear in the longer run. That is why I think we need to promote our own and what is our own. We need to train our people and build their capacities to produce goods of higher standards and have them promoted to the outside world
The writer today works for READ Bhutan, an NGO and lives in Thimphu with his wife and six-year-old daughter. A blogger and a social worker, Nawang also authored two books.
Nawang p. phuntsho