Almost all your comments on “Visiting tourists” expressed concern about the Prime Minister’s executive order to prepare a blueprint to do away with the minimum tourist tariff. The poll asking, “Should the minimum tariff for tourists be removed?” drew a similar response with 82% saying “No!”
Thank you for your comments. As promised, I’ll share your views with the government.
Today, I wish to draw attention to another blueprint that the Prime Minister has ordered. In the same executive order (of 13 November 2009), the Tourism Council of Bhutan was directed to constitute:
A cross sector implementation team consisting of the MoEA, MoF, TCB and ABTO to frame and present the blueprint for … Mandate all hotels catering to tourists to upgrade to at least 3 Star category.”
The idea, ostensibly, is to ensure “high value tourists” even after liberalizing the minimum tariffs by forcing them to stay in expensive hotels.
But how would we monitor that tourists, who will no longer be required to use tour operators, are actually staying in 3 Star hotels? How could we do so without becoming a police state?
Will all hotels currently catering to tourists be willing and able to upgrade to at least a 3 Star category? What will happen to those that are unable to upgrade?
And, what will happen to the guest houses in Bumthang? Where would tourists stay when they visit Bumthang? Where would tourists be allowed stay when they travel almost anywhere outside Thimphu and Paro?