To encourage cross border tourism and to foster the development of hospitality industry, the Hotel and Restaurant Associations of Bhutan (HRAB), Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India and Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Bengaluru in India on September 15.

Chairman of HRAB, Thinley Palden Dorji said that the agreement is the first for Bhutan. “The market of the industry is changing, so HRAB decided that the best way to understand our guests was to work in association with the industry in India and Nepal.”

The chairman said that Bhutan is looking at three aspects in the agreement. “The first is to have an exchange programme of our staff, managers and owners to understand each other’s market and plan.”

The second was to see the possibility of conducting joint marketing campaigns to promote all three countries. “We also want to see if we can create a platform for potential investors from India to Bhutan in the hospitality industry.”

Some of the clauses in the MoU requires the three countries to cooperate and support each other in areas of human resource, skill development and training, to develop manuals and standard operating procedures based on the best industry practices applicable worldwide and to assist each other to compile and prepare hotel and tourism statistics for the hospitality industry.

Thinley Palden Dorji said that even if there are not many Nepalese tourists who come to Bhutan, Nepal is important for Bhutan as third country tourists who visit Nepal also come to Bhutan.

He said that HRAB is hopeful that the agreement would benefit Bhutanese hospitality industry.

He also said that HRAB is similarly hoping to collaborate with Thailand and Bangladesh to expedite the process of integration of the industry.

Rinchen Zangmo