The Pandemic will spur a new trend in Bhutan – domestic tourism. And tourists will not be equated to dollar-paying visitors only. I welcome this development with an open arm. And with a big kiss.
Many middle class folks of Thimphu and Paro know every shopping mall in Bangkok but wouldn’t have stepped into Baeyul Langdra, which is around the corner. Forget about Omba Nye or Pemaling. And unless our people are on official tour (read as government paid-trip), no one actually travels to see our own land, to know our own people or customs better – or to purposely visit our own sacred sites. Most Bhutanese suffer from the Lhasa Ama Syndrome when it comes to local places.
Domestic tourism is more sustainable, leaves less social or cultural foot prints and prevents capital outflow. It also brings the people of the same country together in harmony and solidarity – and has many positive ramifications.
Again, the choice is not an either-or but a case of the need for both – local and international visitors. So far the focus in terms of policy or marketing has been on international tourism. I am not challenging its benefits or validity. But like in every country, we can have both – local and international, and authorities, especially the Dzongkhag Administrations, can promote travels into their Dzongkhags. Gewog Administrations should play good hosts. If these things are in place, thanks mainly to the social media posts and selfies, international tourist flow into their areas will increase, with or without politicians making lofty promises or DYTs having to nag with elected governments. For example, I already have a solid enquiry for Athang Rukha through my posts.
Time to explore your own country better, people. 😁😁😁