The second phase of assessment for readiness will be done soon

Dechen Dolkar 

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) has certified 83 hotels, 62 homestays and 481 tour guides in its first phase of readiness assessment and validation of tourist service providers.

The  Council validated and assessed 3-star and above hotels, homestays and tour guides on their readiness to welcome tourists from September 23 under the revised tariff.

Hotels and homestays were assessed based on dimensions such as services, safety and security, sustainable practices, hygiene and cleanliness, infrastructure, quality, and providing authentic Bhutanese experiences. According to TCB, all service providers will be assessed, validated and certified. They will be allowed to host tourists or conduct tourism business only after passing the assessment.

Under the first phase of assessment,  only 126 hotels and 92 homestays registered for the validations as of July 3. Most of the hotels are in Bumthang, Paro, Punakha and Thimphu and one each in Sarpang, Trongsa, Trashigang and Tsirang. Similarly, 62 homestays in 10 dzongkhags were certified.

From more than 1,300 guides who registered for the assessment, TCB shortlisted about 600 of them. The first phase of guide assessment test was conducted on September 4 where 481 tour guides passed the test.

TCB will be carrying out another set of evaluations and assessments for those who failed the assessment. The validation is not a one-time exercise and the second round will be done soon. Tourist accommodations may continue to upgrade their services and apply for validation as and when ready.

The second phase of tour guide readiness assessment and validation will be conducted from September 9 to 15 followed by the readiness test on September 18.