For better information dissemination, management of in-house resources, and unity, about 30 hoteliers in Phuentsholing have decided to register with Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan (HRAB).

Excluding the hotels that have decided to register with HRAB, the association has 150 registered members today. About 70 hotels are in the process of registering with the association.

Chairman to the Board of Directors, HRAB, Thinley Palden Dorji, said that with hotels coming together with HRAB, there was a hope counteracting the various negative trends and challenges existing in the industry.

He further said that HRAB was working with relevant stakeholders outside Bhutan for better assessment of the issues in the sector.

Today, hotels in Bumthang, Trashigang, Gelephu, Mongar, Lhuentse, Trashiyangtse, Samdrupjongkhar, and Phuentsholing have decided to register with HRAB.

One of the board members of HRAB, Sonam Dorji, said that the hotels through such cooperation would benefit with better information dissemination, capacity building, and opportunities to promote themselves through international platforms.

“The skill sharing programmes can be done in-house rather than sending and hiring someone from outside. We are trying to make best use of the resources,” said Sonam Dorji.

This year the association provided food handling training and cooking sessions, among others, to the hoteliers.

“I know there are institutes that provide such training but sometimes the ground reality is different,” Sonam Dorji said.

Bhutan has about 300 hotels; about 90 more are under construction.

Sonam Dorji said that in the tourism sector, hotel industry was one of the biggest investors with about Nu15 billion investments. “The hotels face common challenges but we are trying to tackle it at the individual level. Because the industry is really big, it is important that we talk with each other, and know more about the industry.”

Phurpa Lhamo