Neten Dorji

Lhuentse—Tourism development remains a priority for Lhuentse dzongkhag in the 13th Plan.

Lhuentse is home to many sacred pilgrimage sites scattered across the dzongkhag, including Singye Dzong, Rinchen Bumpa, Kuenzangling, Dungkar Naktshang, Waga Pangtsho, Khenpajong, Yonten Kuenjung, and Pasalum Tshachu, among others. The region is also known for Kishuthara, Nettle-Fiber Weaving, and pottery.

Despite its potential tourist attractions, Lhuentse recorded less than 1,000 tourist arrivals by bed nights in 2017, 1,120 in 2018, 1,125 in 2019, 72 in 2020, and 1,062 visitors after Covid-19 according to records maintained by the dzongkhag.

Lhuentse dzongkhag administration is developing tourism facilities

The dzongkhag faced challenges due to poor accommodation facilities, difficult road conditions, limited awareness, a lack of diversified tourism offerings, and limited collaboration with tour operators. 

Lhuentse Economic Development and Marketing Officer, Tshewang Zangmo,  said that construction activities have been initiated in almost all pilgrimage sites to attract more international visitors.

“The dzongkhag is strategically focusing on initiatives such as digital promotion, the development of a sustainable community engagement plan, and the publication of tourism inventory documents,” she said, adding that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Ecotourism Project has significantly supported the dzongkhag.

The dzongkhag administration is actively engaged in fostering eco-tourism within the dzongkhag, requiring the establishment and enhancement of essential amenities, ranging from road infrastructure to other key tourism facilities.

Dzongkhag officials mentioned that many tour operators brought their guests to Lhuentse only for daytime visits. “To benefit the community from tourism, the dzongkhag and department of tourism have to look for solutions on how they can utilize our local guides, homestays, pony services, and other facilities and services,” said an official.

The dzongkhag has significant potential for eco-tourism. “Tourists can enjoy village life and engage in real-time activities like pottery making. Lhuentse can boast of being the producer of crafts in the country.”

Lhuentse dzongkhag has potential for both international and local tourism development.

The dzongkhag administration has developed trekking routes such as the Phuningla-Aja trek route and the Rodungla trek route. Additionally, it has constructed essential facilities such as guest houses, toilets, and kitchens, while also enhancing various trails across pilgrimage sites.

“As of the current date, the dzongkhag has successfully completed the construction of 12 toilets, two guest houses, 18 canopies, two bridges, two kitchens, and improved five trails along the trek routes and pilgrim sites,” said Tshewang Zangmo.

She highlighted that the dzongkhag also provides distinctive eco-tourism experiences, including trekking through pristine forests, immersing in cultural heritage, and engaging in local conservation initiatives.

“Lhuentse dzongkhag offers an opportunity to explore and observe a diverse array of plant and animal species in their natural habitat,” she said. “Beyond its natural beauty, Lhuentse dzongkhag is home to a rich cultural heritage and historical sites, allowing visitors to witness the unique cultural aspects of the dzongkhag.”

She said the GEF Ecotourism Project has effectively contributed to the construction of essential amenities along the Singye Dzong trails. “We expect more tourist arrivals by the night next year.”