Destination Bhutan has adopted a different strategy altogether that gives top prominence to its environmental sustainability and happiness of its citizens. The guiding philosophy being the ‘Gross National Happiness’ based on sustainable economic development, conservation of the environment, preservation of culture and good governance with the consent of the King.
Damcho Rinzin, Head of Tourism Promotion Division, Bhutan, explained that respecting the carrying capacity of its nature eco-system is of top most priority as is ensuring that the discerning traveller visiting Bhutan has the best possible experience. “Planning the itinerary in the best possible manner with help of local stakeholders is one best possible way to ensure that the tourists derive the best memorable experience. Now, with regional tourists able to obtain their entry permit clearances and route permits before their arrival in Bhutan, it is easier for Indians and others to make a well planned itinerary,” said Rinzin.
The Department of immigration under the Home and Cultural Affairs Ministry and Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) launched the Online Permit System in January 2017. With the online service, tourists will no longer have to wait in queue to obtain permit clearances. The facility will help to reduce processing time and enhance smooth visitation by the tourists, which otherwise was a big dampener and curtailed tourists ability to experience the best of Bhutan and its pristine natural glory.
“Apart from saving time, tourists now will not have to stand in queue to get permits at the immigration offices. The service can be availed through registered tour operators and TCB certified hotels that are registered on the system. The facility is on trial for three months and will be applicable from two entry points of Paro and Phuntshogling. Tourists just need to give their biometric information at the entry point,” explained Rinzin.
With this system, registered tour operators and TCB certified hotels will provide services such as licensed guide, transportation, minimum three-star accommodation facility among others. According to Rinzin, this will allow especially Indians to manage further in depth experience of the pristine nature, lively festivals, rich culture and witness wide spread travel attractions in Bhutan.