Coinciding with the World Tourism Day yesterday, Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) launched revamped destination website and Bhutan 2017 Tour Guide Directory.

A list of 15 hotels that expressed their interest in Green Hotel certification in 2018 was also announced.

TCB in collaboration with National Environmental Commission (NEC) and other relevant stakeholders developed the Green Hotel Guideline. The guideline is intended to guide and facilitate hotels to adopt sustainable practices in the day-to-day operation or management to go green.

An official from TCB said that the upgraded destination website would serve as the main portal for potential visitors to gather information and plan their trip to Bhutan. “It will provide opportunity to interested partners of Bhutan to promote tour packages, events and experiences by signing up and creating accounts.”

Assistant tourism officer, Tshering Wangchuk, said the website contains additional features which would allow tour operators to register online. “They don’t have to come to TCB office or request TCB for registration.”

He said that the tour operators can advertise or upload packages on the website. “Dzongkhags and event organisers can sign up to submit or upload events and other tourism products to bring tourism benefits to their dzongkhags.”

Chief tourism officer, Thinley Rinzin, said,  “As a developing nation with limited resources, tourism brings in the much needed foreign exchange, generates revenue, and provides jobs to our youth. It also has an important role to play in community development and improving the quality of life of our citizens.”

He added: “Thanks to the policies focusing on high value, low impact, our natural and cultural heritage, which are the main tourist attractions have remained largely intact and healthy even to this day.”

NEC secretary, Chencho Norbu, said that sustainable tourism in a mountainous country like Bhutan depends on knowledge and information sharing. “Working in silos in tourism will not help us.  In a small society like ours, I would say that it is possible to maintain our healthy ecosystem in perpetuity.”

Karma Cheki