English | Dzongkha Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Government’s plan for tourist guides post-pandemic

Dec 12, 2020

Not only did the COVID-19 cripple the tourism industry in the country, but it has also left more than 50,000 Bhutanese unemployed. Presenting the State of the Nation Report, the Prime Minister said in the post-pandemic, government plans to make tourist guides, the country’s most valued tourism product.  

Tourism is a key economic sector, bringing in significant foreign exchange earnings, creating employment for over 50,000 persons, facilitating other livelihood opportunities, and promoting regional and international goodwill.

“Bhutan mostly received tourists from America, Germany and also the country received an increasing number of tourists from Korea and Japan. From the region, we get tourists from India and China. The guides should know about all of their cultures, histories and language. The guides will be trained for about one and a half year at the maximum. They will have to pass a test and if they do, they will be a specialised guide. I can assure you that he or she can earn more than USD 500 to 1000 per day,” said Dr Lotay Tshering, the Prime Minister.

As per the report, the number of tourist arrival in the country fell by 91 per cent. In 2019, 315,599 tourists visited the country contributing more than USD 225 M to the country’s revenue. And 70 per cent of the visitors were from the region. The services were provided by more than 1,500 tour operators, over 160 tourist-standard hotels, some 150 village homestays, more than 500 budget hotels and restaurants, over 1,500 guides and two airlines flying to over 10 cities.

However, this year due to pandemic, only around 29,000 tourists visited the country contributing USD 19 M to the revenue. Gross receipts fell by 92 per cent to USD 19.84 M in 2020, from USD 225.87 M in 2019. Direct revenue also dropped by 90.4 per cent to USD 2.63 M in 2020, from USD 27.23 M in 2019.

Sangay Chezom

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