Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society Launched To Foster Partnership Between Travel Agencies And More

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Karma Tshering said that the intention was to bring all the diverse groups together to shape the future of tourism.

Farmhouses of Bhutan. (Source: DrukAsia)

 

By Dechen Tshomo | Kuensel

To create a platform for all tourism agencies to come together in a common forum to share, inspire and support the growth of sustainable tourism in Bhutan, the Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society (BSTS) was launched in Thimphu on 27 Sept, coinciding with World Tourism Day.

The platform was conceptualised by an eco-tourism specialist, Karma Tshering who has a PhD in tourism and more than 10 years of working experience in eco-tourism.

Karma Tshering said that the intention was to bring all the diverse groups together to shape the future of tourism.

Bhutan, he said has huge potential in tourism supported by a visionary policy.

Bhutan is a desired travel destination for many

“Bhutan is almost a picture-perfect travel destination for many,” he said. “It is in our hands to either nurture it to get continuous benefits or exploit it and look for short-term benefits.”

 

Source: DrukAsia

 

He said that the dynamics of tourism development was changing in Bhutan due to the rapid increase in the numbers of tourists but the pathway to sustainability needs realignment.

“We cannot be complacent anymore. The time has come for us to become more proactive.”

Besides the relevant government agencies, he said that other tourism sector associates like the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan and donor partners have been putting in their efforts to support tourism growth in Bhutan.

“In spite of this, the biggest gap recognised in tourism development is the lack of coordination between these agencies,” he said.

“Tourism is multi-sectoral and working in isolation is a potential threat to sustainability.”

Role of the Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society (BSTS)

This is where the existence of BSTS comes in to interpret, to strengthen coordination and foster partnerships. “To bring all the players together under one roof.”

 

Source: DrukAsia

 

One of the objectives for establishing BSTS was to encourage and support tourism research. The forum would upload all researches on tourism in Bhutan.

The society also aims to be a think tank to provide informed decision to the government.

The Gross National Happiness Commission’s secretary, Thinley Namgyel said that tourism was identified as one of the key sectors in the 12th Plan.

Thinley Namgyel said that the lack of coordination, collaboration and consolidation were present in all the agencies within the government. So, in the 12th Plan, the triple C is one key new element where the emphasis would be on ‘coordination, collaboration and consolidation'.

Tourism is also one of the nine flagship programmes in the 12th Plan, he added.

The society would be a voluntary organisation driven by an experienced and passionate group which forms the management team. Free membership would be open to all interested individuals. 

“I am hopeful that the society that we are initiating will make a difference to sustainable tourism in Bhutan and of course support GNH,” Karma Tshering said.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 

 


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