Nice to hear back from you. Good to know that you are all well and safe.
Yes indeed the mad man Putin has lost his marbles and is causing misery to millions across the glob. Obviously, as a member of the inter-connected global community, we in Bhutan too are impacted due to rising costs and shortage of supplies – in addition to the difficulties caused by the pandemic. But we are surviving.
You are right – tourism is our most vital industry and it is at a standstill – we are pushing hard for the reopening of the tourism – but there is this five days quarantine requirement for international travelers that is a huge deterrent. It is our hope that the government would lift that soon. Actually it is not that there is a ban on tourists entering Bhutan – there never was one - tourists were always welcome to come any time but the requirements for their eligibility to enter Bhutan during the pandemic were extremely discouraging - not suited to the majority of our class of visitors.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan’s "BHUTAN TOURISM MONITOR 2020" records that the average length of stay by tourists in Bhutan is six nights. This clearly means that our tourists will not want to languish in a quarantine facility - five nights of the six nights they want to spend here.
I get the sense that as long as we are fully vaccinated, the present Omicron variant of COVID-19 should not be any cause for serious worry – unless a more lethal variant emerges. So I do not believe that the cause for our government’s dithering is the fear of the virus. Bhutan is said to have achieved “herd immunity”.
So, if you are planning to come to Bhutan – now is the time to start planning your travel itinerary.
Wolfgang wrote back too – saying that he is fine and safe. By the way could you please send me a digital copy of my article in the Festschrift publication? Thanks.
Bye and take care …. and please keep safe.