In what could perhaps be the most significant milestone in the life of the nation, the government of the day is introducing The Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022.
Many are asking why this Bill at this time? It is, therefore, important to put the Bill in the right perspective.
Tourism has been, and will, continue to be a major revenue earner for the country. How we are selling our country, however, has not changed in these many years since we opened to tourism in the early 1970s.
Let us leave the technicalities of the Bill aside for a while and consider the merit of the Bill itself. For a political government to introduce such a Bill is suicidal. What we must appreciate is the courage of the present government to face the headwind for the sake of the nation’s future.
The nation is geared full-on towards rebooting itself. That means, in many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic gave us the space to recalibrate the jump we are making as a nation in this century. We are finally redefining ourselves in light of new opportunities that revolution in the field of technology and consummate development are bringing at our doors.
So, carpe diem!
But understanding our own stand on tourism is by far more important than the change itself. Policies, by nature of their birth, are both constrictive and repressive. It is helpless when those manning the officialdom take their responsibility for just another day of good sunshine.
We are all too familiar with the term “high value-low volume”. But what does it truly mean? Even the officials and individuals working in the tourism sector, unfortunately, have no answer.
The Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 is about change. It is about courage. It is about a nation looking far ahead into the future. It is about jobs creation. It is about quality education and services. It is about building a brand. It is about transforming Bhutan’s soul and outlook and the world’s image of Bhutan.
Some tour operators will protest but even they are in agreement with the nation’s long-term vision. When guests come to Bhutan, we give them the value for money. When guests meet us, we make them feel not just comfortable but also give them a taste of the culture that is Bhutan and Bhutanese.
The Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 is the policy that can change the face and minds of the Bhutanese. That is why there is a need to clear the path. In the process, whacking here and there can be painful.
Tourism is the nation’s wealth that every Bhutanese has an equal stake in. Change comes with a huge promise. If there has ever been one Bill with the scope to change the whole nation and its people, it is The Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022.