“We have to decide what extent of change we are willing to live with”
Bhutan says it is taking a balanced approach to sustain its growth momentum after experiencing rising arrivals in recent years. Overall arrivals hit a record 64,038 in 2011, a rise of 56.7% from the previous year. The Tourism Council of Bhutan is now more focused on yield than arrivals. “We need to improve service standards and delivery, because in order to charge more you must deliver more,” said the council’s director of plans and programs Thuji Dorji Nadik. “We are following the ‘limits to change’ model, which means we, as a country, will have to decide what extent of change we are willing to live with.”
This strategy includes developing infrastructure, human resources and technology, such as the introduction of ATMs and point-of-sale machines to make it easier for tourists to spend.
Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have banned foreigners from travelling to Tibet after two Tibetans set themselves on fire at a festival. A spokesperson from Tibet China International Tour Service confirmed the travel ban for foreign visitors to the region. Around 40 Tibetans have self-immolated since February 2009 to protest against Chinese rule.
[pictured: Haa Summer Festival, next celebrated on July 9-10; courtesy Tourism Council of Bhutan]