"Enlightenment comes from Realizing the Unreality"
Saturday, October 18, 2014
LET’s MAKE IT SIMPLE, Kuensel K2
Tourism's Role in the Economy
All eyes were on the shortage
of rupee when the economy suffered a serious blow in 2012 from which it is
still recovering. Hydropower, the country’s biggest revenue earner could not
fetch enough rupee to finance people’s need. The shock left by the rupee
liquidity crisis was felt throughout the country in almost all the sectors of
But in between all that, the tourism sector continued to
grow unharmed, insulated from the economic pains brought about by the shortage
The sector remained insulated from the domestic shocks because it did
not have to depend on the local market.
The tourism sector is only affected when there are global
economic meltdowns as it depends on the international market.
So far we have been overlooking the benefits of tourism,
but now we have realised that tourism contributes a significant chunk to the
government revenue. Each year, it fetches over Nu 4B. But the benefit of
tourism is not only the revenue it contributes; it has a wide-ranging trickle
It has helped in reducing unemployment as it employs over
40,000 people. It helps the local hotels, national airlines, vehicle hiring
agencies, guides, transportation, shops, consulting firms and travel companies
If the economy functioned like a network of electricity
and we take the tourism plug out, many places will be left without light.
Without tourism, there will be massive unemployment as there will be no need
for travel companies, guides and vehicle hiring agencies.
Each tourist that visits the country is required to pay
USD 250 a day as royalty and daily tariff. Last week, more than 5,000 dollar
paying tourists visited the country to witness the Thimphu Tshechu.
Therefore these 5,000 tourists were contributing USD 1.2M
a day (Nu 76M) to the economy besides creating employment for a large number of
Bhutanese.Tourism is the single largest contributor of hard currency
to the economy. Most of its earnings are in US dollar.
Therefore it is only in the best interest of the country
to promote tourism. However, in doing so, the important thing is our culture
and environment is not undermined. Many countries have had experiences of
social dislocation and their culture and environment being ruined in pursuit of
maximising the benefits from tourism.
Bhutan follows the high value-low impact tourism policy,
which basically limits the number of tourists to a few high end by charging
expensive rates and allowing them to put up in a minimum of three star hotel.
This does not allow many tourists to come into the country, as many cannot
afford the daily tariff of USD 250 a day.
The tourism council of Bhutan overlooks and monitors tourism
related regulations in the country.