Sunday, February 18, 2024

Para-Gliding? Hang-Gliding? Or Cable Car?

Surprises never cease in this county … I mean Bhutan looking to invite Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for starting gliding in the country? PREPOSTEROUS! Pray, tell me, what is so complicated about gliding? It is not a high technology venture ----- neither does it require investment at a level that cannot be handled by the Bhutanese. While it is not clear what gliding they are talking about – Para-Gliding or Hang-Gliding – regardless, I happen to know that we have few hundred Bhutanese who can handle this level of investment with ease.

Let it be known that notice has been served!

Best of economies around the world welcome FDI – for the value they bring to the country – by way of finance, employment, as well as advanced technology and skills. Not to be outdone, Bhutan has endeavored to attract FDI for the past many decades. And we did attract some – sadly our experience with almost every one of our FDI partners has been that the country has come off the loser. Most of them have been shameless in abusing our sense of welcome. They broke every law in the book – and we watched helplessly, as though they were doing us a great favor.

But I am encouraged that our moment of awakening may be here!

During the get-to-know trip to the Ge-Sar on 4th January, 2024, one of the points made by His Majesty the King was that there was no shortage of investors for the Ge-Sar. But what about Bhutan? Just because investors are there for the picking, do we surrender our soul for a bagful of cash? No!!! Thus, we were told that the best of legal brains around the world were being engaged – to work out the most ideal terms of engagement that is beneficial for all.

Same goes with the FDI investment – we have to be lot more careful than we have been so far. Above all, we need to make sure that economic opportunities that are within the scope and capability of the Bhutanese, and in areas where investment level is within the capability of the locals, are reserved for the nationals.

Talking of which why is gliding the investment of choice - for attracting tourists? What about scenic Ropeway Cable Cars?

Scenic Cable Car ropeway to Phajoding top. Feast your eyes on the jaw-dropping view as you glide past the Phajoding Goemba.

For years I have been promoting the idea that someone should invest in setting up a cable car ropeway system to the ridge above Phajoding ….. construct two dozen plus tourist class cottages for the visiting tourists. The cable car ride that will glide past the lush green hillside of Thimphu will be breathtaking. It is bound to be a hit amongst Thimphups as well. We are always on the lookout for a gate-away that is not too far removed from Thimphu, and yet distanced enough from the clatter and clang of the noisy metropolis – calm, still, secluded, and supremely exclusive!

As a tourism product – cable car ropeway will beat the gliding proposal – HANDS DOWN!

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