DoT Unveils Strategy to Address Growing Tourist Arrivals and Waste Management


In the wake of the government’s ambitious pledge to attract 300,000 tourists annually, the Department of Tourism (DoT) has unveiled a comprehensive action plan to accommodate the anticipated surge in visitor numbers while concurrently addressing critical issues such as waste management.

This initiative comes amid escalating concerns over the readiness of Bhutan’s infrastructure and human resources to effectively cater to the growing tourism sector.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of a cohesive and proactive approach, the DoT has outlined key focus areas to enhance the tourism landscape.

Emphasizing the significance of policy and regulatory frameworks, accessibility, and connectivity, the Department aims to streamline processes and systems, boost destination development and management, and professionalize the industry to meet the escalating demands of the tourism sector.

DoT announced a USD 13.5 million surge in tourism revenue from Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) last year, indicating a substantial economic uplift.

The Director General (DG) for DoT, Dorji Dhradhul, highlighted one of the primary challenges identified by the Department is the imperative need to fortify Bhutan’s human resources to deliver exceptional service and experiences to the influx of tourists.

The DG also said that recognizing this critical need, efforts are underway to advance professionalism and expand the skills of the workforce within the tourism industry and the Department itself.

By prioritizing these initiatives, Bhutan aims to ensure a seamless and enriching experience for all visitors.

However, amidst the optimism surrounding the surge in tourist arrivals, concerns have been raised regarding the instability of the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) and its adverse impact on the tourism market.

While a reliable and consistent tourism policy is indispensable for sustainable growth, the Department remains committed to fostering adaptability and resilience in response to evolving circumstances, thereby safeguarding the interests of stakeholders within the tourism sector.

Furthermore, in a bid to diversify entry points and attract a broader spectrum of tourists, discussions are underway to open additional tourist exits and entry points.

While guests from India currently have multiple entry and exit options, efforts are being made to facilitate easier access for visitors from other countries, thereby expanding Bhutan’s tourism footprint and enhancing its appeal as a destination of choice.

Amidst the anticipation of increased tourist arrivals, concerns have been raised regarding the potential surge in waste.

However, the Department commits to implement a robust waste management system to mitigate the environmental impact of tourism. Emphasizing the collective responsibility of Bhutanese citizens and stakeholders, the Department will advocate for heightened awareness and decisive action to curb littering habits and promote sustainable waste management practices.

The Department also draws inspiration from the concerted efforts of various stakeholders, including tourists, tour guides, and community groups, who actively engage in addressing waste management challenges.

Their commitment underscores the urgency of collective action and underscores the importance of preserving Bhutan’s pristine environment for future generations and its unwavering commitment to promoting sustainable tourism, and preserving Bhutan’s rich cultural and environmental heritage.

By fostering collaboration and innovation, Bhutan endeavors to emerge as a beacon of responsible tourism, setting a precedent for global sustainability efforts.

Meanwhile, during the visit of the Prime Minister to India on 15 March, he highlighted the thriving tourism industry between the two nations, he underscored the need for further

collaboration and exchanged ideas during a question-and-answer session to attract more Indian tourists to Bhutan.

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