Bhutan observes the World Tourism Day (WTD) under the theme “Tourism and Community Development” at Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang today.
WTD highlights the role of tourism in creating a more sustainable future for community development that is in line with the global transition to the sustainable development goals as the guiding principle promoted by the UN from 2015 and beyond.
The theme “Tourism and Community Development” will focus on empowering people with skills that enable them to make changes in their communities through tourism business.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) said the theme relates perfectly with Phobijkha as it hold tourism’s social, cultural, political, and economic values, among others.
A TCB official added that there are 24 households in Phobjikha that have converted a few of their rooms as farmhouse stays realizing the benefits of community based sustainable tourism (CBST). This has helped the households to gain an alternative source income and employment opportunities.
The farmhouse stays at Phobjikha are standardized to meet the basic requirements, like cleanliness, proper bathing rooms, and more.
The CBST in Phobjikha mainly focuses on development of tourism products, facilities, and services, like capacity building of local communities.
The message from Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki-moon for the 2014 World Tourism Day is to be read out at Phobjikha middle secondary school.
“Harnessing tourism’s immense benefits will be critical to achieving the sustainable development goals and implementing the post 2015 development agenda,” stated the message.
The message from the UNWTO Secretary General Taleb D Rifai reads, “The theme of World Tourism Day 2014 – Tourism and Community Development – brings to the forefront the potential that tourism has to promote new socio-economic opportunities and better livelihoods for communities around the world while highlighting the critical role that community engagement has in advancing sustainable development.”
A presentation on Phobjikha and Community-Based Sustainable Tourism Development Project are planned for the day along with a presentation by the local CBST group chairperson on the CBST experience that is contributing to community development.
There will also be a display and skills competition of local souvenir products along with a cultural program.
The guests will also enjoy a tour of the valley hosted by the local guides and home stays visits.
The World Tourism Day is celebrated every year on September 27 with different themes related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).