‘Bhutan-Thailand friendship offer’ launched

The special package has a 50 percent discount on airfare and hotel fees

TOURISM:  By The ‘Bhutan-Thailand friendship offer’, aimed at attracting Thai tourists, was launched yesterday simultaneously at the capital cities of Thimphu and Bangkok, coinciding with His Majesty’s birth anniversary.

The offer is for Thai nationals and others with proof of residency in Thailand.

His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck launched the offer at the JW Marriott hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, while Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay launched the offer in Thimphu.

Lyonchhoen said all tourism stakeholders must work together to bring in at least 5,000 tourists, including 3,000 Thais, during the leaner months of June, July and August.

“We must provide quality services in terms of guides, transportation and other services,” lyonchhoen said, adding the economy must derive income opportunities from potential sectors, such as electricity, agriculture, and tourism.

As a part of the offer, Thai nationals and others with proof of residency in Thailand will not pay the mandatory minimum daily tariff of USD 200 a day for the lean season.  Instead, they would be levied the daily royalty of USD 65, while tour operators would have to compete and come up with attractive packages.

The national airlines, Drukair and Bhutan airlines, will offer 50 percent discount on airfare, while hotels will give up to 50 percent discount on rates. “A special airport reception will be arranged on arrival, and there will be flexibility of choice in services,” a press release from the tourism council of Bhutan (TCB) stated, adding “all other discounts” will apply.

Emphasising the need to promote tourism throughout the year, lyonchhoen, at a press conference yesterday, said tourists visited the country for only six months in a year, and most were of the opinion the country experienced heavy rainfall during summers, and winters were extremely cold as a Himalayan region.

“We need to change that perception and bring in tourists throughout the year,” lyonchhoen said.

The offer, which is valid from June 1 to August 31, requires all Thais to book their trip to Bhutan through a licensed tour operator, tourism officials said.  The special offer for Thailand is to commemorate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Bhutan and Thailand enjoy strong ties of bilateral relations, built on a foundation of a shared spiritual heritage, respect for the institution of monarchy, and reverence for culture and traditions,” the press release stated. “The offer is to promote people to people contact.”

Thais visiting the country during these three months can experience the Nimalung festival from June 5 to 7 in Chumey, Bumthang, and Kurjey tshechu, around the same time.  The Haa summer festival takes place from July 5 to 7, followed by the Matsutake festival in Bumthang on August 23 and 24.

Besides, TCB and the royal Thai consulate in Bhutan will organise a weekly Thai food festival during the three months at the Thai pavilion.

Meanwhile, tour operators and hoteliers have already started working on packages for Thai tourists.  Despite the short time frame, tour operators and hoteliers appreciated the PM’s initiative, being the first of its kind.

Tour operators said, with the mandatory minimum daily tariff waived, their profit margin would depend on the bargaining power with hotels, guides, and transporters.

“It means competition among tour operators,” a tour operator said, adding that it was good that even others with proof of residency in Thailand are allowed to visit Bhutan, apart from Thai nationals.


Source : Kuenselonline.com

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