…but the calls for the rooms from local clients are increasing

Rajesh Rai |  Phuentsholing

With the recent relaxations, Phuentsholing is slowly seeing more and more people from other dzongkhags.

Shops and restaurants are doing brisk businesses as closing time has also been extended to 10pm.

However, it is still difficult to find a good hotel in Phuentsholing. This is because most of the hotels are still serving as quarantine centres.

Recently, Ugyen, a Thimphu resident, had come to Phuentsholing and was unable to find a standard budget hotel.

“I ended up in an expensive one,” he said.

The Southern Covid-19 Task Force has allowed the quarantine hotels to discontinue with the quarantine services. But only one has volunteered to discontinue and resume walk-in services.

“Others have not yet decided,” an official said.

The official said that hoteliers are given 10 days to prepare for next quarantine service and those who completed the services are sequenced for next opportunities. However, hoteliers may not be entertaining local clients because if they have local clients they cannot have quarantine services together.

This, he said, may be the reason.

Currently, there are 42 hotels in Phuentsholing catering to the quarantine services. These hotels have quarantined over 1,000 foreign workers and returnees. Everyday, about 200 people enter Phuentsholing and avail quarantine services.

Most hoteliers say they receive calls for walk-in room services.

“But I don’t have a cook yet and because of this I have recommended many clients to my friends,” Ugyen said. “However, there may not be as much people as it was pre-pandemic days.”

Ugyen said many hoteliers might be sticking to the quarantine services because that at least keeps them in the business.

A three-star hotel charges Nu 1,000 per person per day and are quarantined for five days. Other budget hotels take Nu 800.

“This helps us survive and cover for other utilities,” Ugyen said.

Before the pandemic, Ugyen’s star-rated hotel would charge more than Nu 3,500 per night.

A manager of another hotel said that they are allowed to cater to walk-in customers during the preparation time—after five days’ quarantine services are completed.

“But we are still continuing with the quarantine services,” he said.

A general manager of a three-star hotel also said that there are increasing calls from customers these days.

“Although the business will not be like pre-pandemic days, hotels will also need to prepare themselves to serve to customers,” he said. “We have to change certain things inside the rooms.”