Indian tourists to receive “high value experience”

Tourism: Tourist arrival from India, especially from the state of West Bengal, is expected to increase with the visit of the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to Bhutan.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting with the Chief Minister at the Gyalyong Tshogkhang on Monday, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said Bhutan saw increased tourist arrivals especially after the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June last year.

He expressed optimism that Mamata Banerjee’s visit would boost tourist arrivals from India. “Now after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Bhutan, I can see many more tourists visiting Bhutan,” Lyonchoen said.

In the last one and half years, the Prime Minister said that about 116,000 Indian tourists visited Bhutan. Most of them, he said, were from West Bengal.

Tourism was one of the most important issues discussed in the meeting of the two leaders.

The chief minister told journalists that the number of Indian tourists visiting Bhutan is significant to the industry. “In every sector, from agriculture to tourism, we can work together,” she said.

Meanwhile, with the expectation of increased arrivals from India, the prime minister said it has now become a matter of urgency for the government to see how the country can provide high value experience to them.

“Tourism in Bhutan is unique,” he said, adding that Bhutan is one of the few countries that go for a policy of high value and low volume. “We have been very successful.”

He said the government would look into how to provide value for money to Indian tourists.

In the past, he said most of the tourists were from other countries and that the country has the structures in place to provide high value to high-end tourists. “Now to the regional tourists, especially from India and within that subset from West Bengal, we really not have thought about how we can provide that high value,” lyonchoen said.

Asked to elaborate on the definition of “high value experience”, the prime minister said that tourists would be given enjoyable experience different from that of any other country. He said, “Here in Bhutan, we want to make tourists experience that they are the only ones who have visited Bhutan.”

The prime minister said that the tourists should feel “exclusive” in Bhutan. “We want them to feel that they are the chosen ones,” he said. “We want them to feel that they have journeyed through Bhutan.”

MB Subba