Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Stabbed Goose Might Still Rise Up And Quack

According to a forward by a friend from a Facebook page where I am not, I am told that the National Council (NC) had also endorsed the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 - with the recommendation that, whether payments received or not, all tours booked and confirmed before 20th June, should be outside the purview of the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022.

This recommendation by the NC has a hint of sanity about it – but just. It does not solve few hundred other problems that will be caused by the ill-timed implementation of the proposed Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022.

The torn and tattered Goose on death row. Like the tourism industry of Bhutan, this bird is the highest flying bird of Bhutan. I have not given up the hope that it might yet rise from the dust and begin quacking happily.

I do not believe that the National Assembly will listen to reason – they are most likely to go ahead and re-endorse the Bill - verbatim.

For the record, the manner in which they bulldozed the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 is proof that the NA does not function as an institution of democracy. This is amply proven by the following two brazen disregard for due process of form and procedure:

~  Some Parliamentarians, including the Opposition Leader, had required the government to validate their
    reasons for this more than threefold increase in the SDF. They have been asked to justify
    the mathematics behind their logic – they were required to table their research and data – on the floor
    of the NA – so that the House could get a grasp of their reasoning, which would help the House arrive at an
    educated decision.

This requirement remains defiantly ignored and unfulfilled.

~  The Speaker of the NA called for raising of the hands by those who supported the Finance and Economic
    Committee’s recommendation for the deferment of the implementation of the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan
    2022 to a more appropriate date. The Speaker, whether through omission or deliberately, did not require
    the raising of hands by those Members who did not support the recommendations.

Friends tell me that this issue of the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 is a cut-and-dried issue and that I should now let it go. But I believe that it is not so – there is still a slim chance that the stabbed Goose might rise up and quack.

There are few hundred reasons I can offer why this Bill is terrible for Bhutan and its maimed tourism industry - it will take me more than a hundred pages to detail them all. I do not wish to attempt to do so at this stage. But for those of you whose cause for failure may be due to lack of institutional memory, I would like to recount a historical occurrence that few may have heard about.

It must have been during the late 1970s or early 1980s when I was still a member of the civil service. It came to pass that the UNDP had fielded a Yak Expert to undertake some studies and submit recommendations on the better management of the country’s Yak population.

When he arrived Bhutan and his counterpart in the Department of Animal Husbandry took him around the country – the expert saw a large wooly animal grazing on the mountain slopes.

He asked his counterpart: "What animal is that beautiful animal?"

The counterpart told him: "The animal is a Yak."


  1. Very ood decision

  2. Very good decision . This will grdually prove GNH. The tourist from the western countries pay to their tour rganizers as much as £500 (five hundred ) however the service providers in Bhutan hardly gets 30 usd per day. The question is whete do the
    rest of the money goes. ???.
    Notto our government not to hotels not to local tour operators. This system will bring full amount to the servce providers and make every tourist feel our Gross National Happiness.

  3. I fully support the present bill on tourism

  4. The best part of the deal is the explanation; getting back to normal is not good enough, we have to transform. Sadly, if the best way to transform is by pricing yourself beyond your value, then all the best.

    Secondly, the biggest culprit and the Brutus to the industry appears to be our own Director General of the TCB - his smug and treacherous picture accompanying his rant article of how this new levy will be good for us was enough to deter me from reading the article.

    I have listened to and undergone countless arguments during the last week on this issue. There have been numerous and significant articles on why this is ill-timed. Most of these writings are accompanied by the hard hitting maths.

    Now, on the other hand, advocates of the levy have a single qualitative argument, it is for the future. And yet again, what use is the future, when it is bound for Australia in planeloads every week.

    Advocates for the levy also paint a picture of a very lacklustre tourism industry where guides are exploited, human capital is dismal, etc. They argue that with the substantial revenue that this new levy will bring to the exchequer, miracles will happen in the sector. Sadly, all these miracle products may again be bound for Australia when there are not enough tourists to cater - and once again, Bhutan would have contributed to Australia,s HRD.