I’m happy that the Government has revoked its decision to liberalize tourist tariffs. And that it has decided instead to increase the minimum tourist tariff to US$ 250 per night from 2011 onwards. Liberalizing tourist tariffs would have undermined Bhutan’s valuable brand image and affected our economy and society significantly.
But I’m alarmed at how the Government changed its decision. Just one meeting with stakeholders and the Prime Minister decides, during that meeting itself, that liberalizing tourist tariffs is not such a good idea. Just a simple show of hands of those present at the meeting, and the PM decides to increase the minimum tourist tariff. Just like that, the most important provision of the PM’s Executive Order is rescinded.
Obviously I’m satisfied with the final outcome of the recent meeting. But I can’t help wondering how our government takes important decisions. Did, for example, the PM fully understand the issues before signing the 13 November Executive Order into “immediate effect”? And, did the PM consider those issues again, carefully and thoroughly, before reversing his decision?
It’s important to know that our government does not act arbitrarily. And, that it is not fickle-minded.