Consulting tourists

So the government has accepted and decided to implement McKinsey’s recommendations for the tourism sector. And it seems like we are paying a lot of money – almost 10 million dollars – to a consulting firm to tell us what we already know. Attracting high end visitors, promoting ecotourism, making Bhutan a destination for international meetings, easing ticketing, simplifying visa procedures, improving hotels, domestic air services, developing infrastructure, investing in marketing … these are more or less the same recommendations that a series of earlier consultants have made. More importantly, they are the same ones that ABTO and tour operators have repeatedly submitted to the government. Still, I’m hopeful. I’m very hopeful that these common recommendations will finally get some serious attention from the government. After all, they are now McKinsey’s recommendations.

But, the government has, thankfully, already decided to dump McKinsey’s main recommendation: i.e., to increase annual tourist arrivals to 250,000. The government now sees McKinsey’s projection as an “aspiration”, and has decided to stick with the Tenth Plan targets instead. An aspiration? Do we really mean it? Do we really think that 250,000 tourists a year is a goal to aspire for? Or our we being excessively polite? Do we actually mean that our consultants are wrong? That 250,000 tourists a year cannot be good for Bhutan?

 

Facebook Comments:

Comments

  1. Karma S. P says:

    I can’t believe that our government paid a whopping $9m to this consulting firm when we have so many of our own people living below the poverty line.

    Our country and the people may benefit economically and unemployment maybe significantly reduced but we know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The economic benefit will come at a devastating price in the long run.

    Our policy and decision-makers miserably fail to understand the crushing impact those development will have upon our natural environment and cultural identity. Even with the current wise stringent policies, Bhutan has changed irreversibly.

    This government is murdering our farsighted Kings wisdoms and visions to protect our natural environment and cultural identity overnight.

    Why can’t we, the Bhutanese, learn from experiences of our neighboring countries?

  2. Whether our government considers this an aspiration or whether they endorse this expensive study – we in teh tourism industry are dumbfounded by some of the simple basics that the government is not able to put in place.

    The IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT said in September that they need passport photocopies to issue a visa and abto raised genuine concerns that it cannot be done since it is a bottle neck and hassle and unnecessary beaurocratic procedure to slow the process. It was not required for the last 20 years and why now? We guess it is some officers trying to put the signature stamp on certain issues although not required. ABTO members met with the Cabinet Ministers twice and lastly with the Home Minister who agreed to look into it and said will do away with this requirement if it was a hassle. Justifications have been given that it was indeed a hassle. Home Secretary issued a letter saying it is not required but Immigration department still wants it. TCB and ABTO members met with teh immigration officials and they mentioned that they will revoke this requirement if Home Minister tells them to revoke it. Now this is a very simple requiremetn from immigration – an order to revoke it. home secretary’s order was ignored and now THEY ARE WAITING FOR HOME MINISTERS ORDER. However, the tourists season is ending and the concerned ministry still hasn’t issued the order to revoke this requirement. WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN – SIMPLE ISSUES ARE NOT ADDRESSED.

    We know it is note required since the immigration is saying that passport photocopies are not required if one can submit two passport size photographs and that too can be relaxed by submitting a letter from TCB if photos are not available. Now – please judge yourself is there is any justification from the immigration for asking for the Passport photocopies that will eventually waste paper, slow the process etc etc.

    WHY IS THIS HAPPENING. The story has to be leaked now – can’t help it. many months back a deal has been struck between immigration director and ex-TCB DG that a bunch of immigration officials with immigration director will be sent for a study tour (free trip) fundded by TCB/ABTO TDF fund. This arrangement was shot down when teh new TCB DG arrived. Rightly so since it was a waste of montey and resources. Now Immigration has developed animosity with TCB/ABTO and was looking for ways to take revenge and this current situation was envisioned by Immigration and in between the mass suffers and the country’s image suffers due to such petty decisions.

    Where is the logic behind coming up with such rules and HOW WILL THE GOVERNMENT ADDRESS BIG McKINSEY IDEALOGIES IS SUCH PETTY SMALL ISSUES CANNOT BE DECIDED UPON. WAKE UP CONCERNED PEOPLE AND ACT NOW… SHOW US THAT YOU CAN DO IT, DONT FALTER.

  3. Just to give vent to my pent up feeling about tourism or for that matter any service industries based on foreign visitors is simply nothing but cultural and social and environmental prostitution at worst. When a nation can not innovate it resorts to cheap and easy development for which tourism is well known.

    Cheers

Leave a Reply