18-19 November 2017, Haa. Nature Conservation Division (NCD), Department of Forest and Park Services in collaboration with Royal Society of Protection of Nature (RSPN) organized two days, “Tourism market Promotion Events” for local tour operators and guides in Haa on 18 and 19th November, 2017 with the following objectives:
• To create an awareness on tourism assets of Haa
• To promote facilities and services offered by Homestay operators of Haa
• Motivate tour operators and guides to include visit to Haa in their itineraries
In addition to the 50 tour operators and tour guides who attended the program, there were officials from NCD and Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve under DoFPS , RSPN, Dzongkhag administration, Association of Bhutan Tour Operators (ABTO), the Guide Association of Bhutan (GAB), local guides and homestay operators of Haa Dzongkhag.
The programme included visit to natural and cultural sites of Haa with informal and formal interaction sessions organised in different groups to get the best outcome. The guided trip included visit to cultural sites like Meripuensum mountain, App Chundues ground, Gaychu lhakhang, Shekardrak, and many other cultural sites. They were also introduced to beautiful forest of rhododendron, oak, beech, bluepine , juniper and other plants to help tour guides learn about Bhutan’s natural environment and conservation as well as inspire support for the preservation of our country’s rich ecological and cultural heritage.
The Haa Dzongkhag is still an emerging destination, exploring its potential for tourism development. Haa District has established local tourism products including homestays, local guides and variety of programs around culture, nature and adventure tours. The pilot project sites are focused in three gewogs – Bjee, Esu and Katsho – designated as Zone 1 in the Haa Dzongkhag Tourism Development Plan of 2010.
The Department of Parks and Services (DoFPS) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests is directly involved in promoting eco-tourism in Bhutan. Nature Conservation Division 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 organized peer-learning workshop on ecotourism in Nepal for 20 participants from Haa including homestay operators, local guides, souvenir group members, officials from RSPN, NCD, Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve and Dzongkhag administration. In addition to this, with experts from Royal Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (RITH) , three days cooks and hospitality training was provided to all the approved homestay operators in Haa
The Outcome of the two days tourism market Promotion programe:
• Tour operators and guides made aware of tourism products available in Haa
• Created market linkages between Homestays and tour operators
• Generated input for Tourism business plan for Haa
• Strengthen coordination and partnership between RSPPN, DoFPS, Dzongkhag, local community and tour operators.
The program was supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through CBST project with RSPN and ICIMOD through Kanchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative.
Nature Conservation Division
Department of Forests and Park Services
Ministry of Agriculture and Forests