November 18-19, Haa: Around 50 tour operators and tour guides from Association of Bhutan Tour Operators and the Guide Association of Bhutan along with local guides and home stay operators of Haa attended tourism market promotion events. It was organized to create awareness on tourism assets, promote facilities and services offered by home stay operators and to motivate tour operators and guides to include Haa to their visit itineraries.
The program included a visit to natural and cultural sites of Haa such as Meripuensum Mountain, App Chundues ground, Gaychu lhakhang and Shekardrak among others. Interaction sessions were also organised in different groups to get the best outcome. Participants were also introduced to beautiful forests of rhododendron, oak, breech, blue pine, juniper and other plants to help tour guides learn about Bhutan’s natural environment and conservation as well as to inspire support for the preservation of country’s rich ecological and cultural heritage.
Through the event, participants were able to understand the tourism products available in Haa thereby creating market linkages with the home stays. It also helped generate input for tourism business plan for Haa and strengthen coordination and partnership between RSPN, Department of Parks and Services (DoFPS), Dzongkhag, local community and tour operators.
Haa is still an emerging destination, exploring its potential for tourism development. It has established local tourism products including home stay, local guides and variety of programs around culture, nature and adventure tours. The pilot project sites are focused in three geogs of Bjee, Esu and Katsho.
The Nature Conservation Division (NCD) under DoFPS deals with promoting tourism in the natural areas especially in the nature parks and protected areas. The division also issues permits for tourists visiting the protected areas.
Lately, DoFPS through financial support from ICIMOD and JICA organised a peer-learning workshop on ecotourism in Nepal for 20 participants from Haa including home stay operators, local guides, souvenir group members, officials from forestry, RSPN and Dzongkhag Administration. In addition, experts from the Royal Institute of Tourism and Hospitality provided three days cooks and hospitality training to all the approved home stay operators in Haa.
The program was supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through CBST
project with RSPN and ICIMOD through Kanchenjunga Landscape Conservation and
Submitted by NCD with photos by Choidup Zangpo, ICT
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