Handicraft shops look for steady recovery as tourism restarts

After a hiatus of two years amid the pandemic, the handicraft shops in Paro are now gradually opening their shutters. Handicraft and souvenir businesses came to a standstill after the country suspended the entry of tourists following the detection of the first case two years ago.

Nearly 90 per cent of the handicraft shops in Paro remained closed since March 2020. But the shops are now hoping to slowly emerge from the economic losses and cope with the pandemic as the fight against COVID-19 continues.

“If we have the flow of tourists like in the past, it would benefit all of us including the owners and staff like us,” said Narmith Lepcha, salesperson of Jigdrel handcraft shop.

Similarly, 30-year-old Bhim Biswakarma, a self-taught artist is hopeful his artworks will finally find some buyers. With the handicraft shops closed amid the pandemic, his artworks have been collecting dust in the shop.

“I was planning to set up an art gallery in Paro. But due to the pandemic, I couldn’t work on it. However, my friends and I have been continuing with the artwork and keeping it in the handicraft shops on an instalment basis. But we couldn’t earn any income as the shops didn’t have customers,” added Bhim.

However, with the arrival of a group of 32 international tourists recently,

handicraft business owners are hopeful of reviving their business.

Namgay Wangchuk, Paro

Edited by Sonam Pem

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