While the proposal to delink Tourism Council of Bhutan from the government awaits a Cabinet decision, many in the sector are musing the pros and cons of such a move.
A few within the council expressed reservations of such a move, to the extent of almost taking a perverse pleasure in ruminating the council’s gradual but pending demise.
The council’s manpower has, so far, been furnished by the civil service commission, and salaries forked out by the finance ministry.
The council, no doubt, functioned like any other in the Bhutanese officialdom, when it was supposed to be recognised and respected as a leading organisation that promoted the country as a tourism destination through enthusiasm, creativity and integrity.
The country has only been dubbed as a cultural tourist destination so far, which largely goes to indicate that there are other potential areas that still remain untapped, until recently albeit small numbers.
Trekking has not gained much pace, although it has begun attracting a few committed tourists to venture on long arduous journeys on foot into the countryside and northern mountains.
Biking, however, has fared better over the years, as tourists find the lateral route between the west and east literally undisturbed by vehicular traffic.
Exploring such aspects of tourism probably will be something to expect of the council once it is delinked from civil service, meaning it would be forced to do so to achieve economic strength and success for sustainability.
That would demand enthusiasm and mandate creativity.
Some supportive of the move believe it would only start to fire up council officials’ feet, shake them from the complacency and force them to perform and be out and about.
Those are only some minimal requirements of a sector that is considered the largest hard-currency earner for the country.
Such a move serves the council right at a time when the country is faced with the Rupee crunch issue that is showing no signs of improving whatsoever.
Besides, it has the challenge of bringing in 100,000 tourists by 2013, the signs of achieving, which looks possible after the country began considering visiting neighbours from down south as tourists as well, unlike in the past.
But all that should not come at the cost of the exclusivity the country enjoys from catering to well-heeled tourists.
That apparently will be the challenge the council will continue to face, but it will be an exciting one nevertheless.
Source : Kuenselonline.com