Hydropower has done us good for a long time. But we are talking about a “wake-up call”.  

But is there a need for a new space? That is the real question. 

Context: Covid-19 is going to be here for a long time. Vaccines, they will come and go—politics, unfortunately, is hard the way it is unfolding the world over.

Subject: How must Bhutan be Bhutan the way the Bhutanese want?

Claim: There is a need to listen, think, and speak where the nation must aim to reach. The question is, simply put, worth more than mere minimum daily package rate for tourists. The Kasho, of that time, has lived its time—the reality has changed. However, there is no new language to shape the development of the Bhutanese economy and it’s future. Pity.

“Bubble tourism” is the word, but what does it mean? Should it be understood as a growth that is sickeningly what is real today? The whole argument is coming down from the nation’s tourism idea and it’s benefits that are flying on the face of the national dream. In plain language, we are killing ourselves.

Pricing policy, which is at the heart of the debate today, is supposed to give us time for product development in the tourism sector. This has not happened. Who do blame? This debate must continue because we are talking about the nation’s future in the long run.

If some forces in the nation’s economy are advancing this argument of devaluing the greater national dream, we need to study the nation’s economic development dreams very closely. This is not happening the way we are planning. Make it public, so there is a healthy debate. 

For the tourism sector there is an opportunity to either make it or kill it. The choice is clear. Unhealthy growth of tourism is bad for the country in the long run. The best is keeping it small and expensive. 

For Bhutan the number of visiting tourists should never matter but what they take away from their one-day experience. Have we invested enough there? No.

Bhutan’s tourism policy should still focus on quality. How debates turn out among the many stakeholders is a different matter, but that should not hamper the national dream of keeping Bhutan as Bhutan is. There must be a tag on every tourist that enters the country. How you provide a service to him or her is the job of the TCB. Ultimately, even as TCB knows, the nation must gain from its uniqueness and service it can provide to an individual tourist.   

To put the records straight, we haven’t even begun. Reckless growth in the industry is the least we want. In this regard, where does Bhutan’s economic development stand? If you have invested wrong, you have only to blame. The argument is that Bhutan must be Bhutan regardless of how many more or less tourists we can invite into the county. The real question is how to we assert our uniqueness, independence, or sovereignty.  

Tourism development ought not to be influenced by selfish dreams of an individual in the business. How do we interpret the laws of “Druk Miser Junor Zhizung“, for example? As responsible citizens, we have the right to call for a serious debate. 

A healthy tourism is in the interest of the nation. Well-meaning and contributing citizens have the right to question. Tourism development in Bhutan must begin with development of tourism products.

We haven’t many, and we are paying for that national loss.  That is tourism development we must focus in. Is there a national support for this wholesome national dream?