In an attempt to revive the tourism sector, Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) launched Druk Neykor programme and Druk Kora campaign and their websites coinciding with the 113th National Day yesterday.
Druk Neykor, a pilgrimage travel programme, was developed in collaboration with the Zhung Dratshang, Department of Culture and National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS).
The Druk Neykor programme first starts with tours to 16 sites within Thimphu. Some of the sites in Thimphu are Tshelung Ney, Druk Wangditse Lhakhang, Talangkha Tashi Drukgyel Goenpa and Samarzingkha Drakna Guru Ney, among others.
The programme features 108 holy sites in 20 dzongkhags.
TCB’s Director General Dorji Dhradhul said that TCB plans to cover pilgrim sites from all the dzongkhags in the next year under Druk Neykor programme.
“Although the pandemic has given impetus to domestic tourism, these initiatives also encourage international tourism,” Dorji Dhradhul said.
The programme aspires to promote the pilgrim sites, encourage balanced regional tourism and promote cultural conservation for sustainable tourism.
Another aspect of Druk Neykor programme is the use of the Druk Neykor Stamp Book that contains images of sites under Druk Neykor. Upon visiting a site, individuals would receive a stamp of the respective site as proof and reward of the visit.
To ensure successful operations of Druk Neykor and define, assign roles and responsibilities of concerned agencies TCB with support from Zhung Dratsang, culture department under the home ministry and the NLCS developed the Operation Guideline for Druk Neykor 2020.
Druk Kora campaign
Druk Kora campaign aims to promote domestic tourism encouraging locals to travel and support tourism businesses.
“Due to over-dependence on international tourism, developing countries like Bhutan have not been able to tap the true potential of domestic tourism,” stated the press release from TCB.
According to TCB, the Druk Kora campaign aims to accelerate the recovery of tourism and offer employment opportunities and identify products and destinations that appeal to travellers.
For balanced tourism, the Druk Kora campaign gives travel voucher incentive worth Nu 5,000 to travel operators for every 100 people upon completion of the trip.
TCB also offers certain percentage rebates to the highest spender during the trip. “This is to encourage domestic tourists to purchase local products in places that do not benefit from tourism,” stated the press release.
Under Druk Kora campaign, tour organisers receive a transport subsidy only applicable for locations receiving fewer tourists.
The web portal www.tourism.gov.bt/drukkora serves as the reference point for interested individuals or tour operators to get information on the campaign.
TCB also launched the Guidelines for the Management of Domestic Tourism 2020 to streamline domestic tourism in the country.
According to TCB, the absence of international tourist increased domestic tourism but unregulated domestic tourism causes issues such as littering and pollution, among others.
The guidelines was developed to improve safety and service delivery, promote and facilitate sustainable development of domestic tourism.
During the event, a food map consisting of 74 food items and 48 common Bhutanese food, appetisers and beverages was showcased. The food map is aimed at promoting the culinary heritage of Bhutan.
The map was an initiative of the Royal Institute for Tourism and Hospitality to celebrate the 40th birth anniversary of His Majesty The King.