Saturday, May 11, 2024


It is a pity - I ought to listen to my friends and their sound counsel more often than I am wont to do. One hundred and six (106) articles of relentless pursuit of the cause of Bhutan’s tourism …. and I have nothing to show for it. Friends tell me that there cannot be a greater fool than me - that even when it is clear as night and day that no one else gives a rat’s ass - I am still chasing the cause, and extolling the merits of, tourism. And yet, I like to think that if I knock long and hard enough …. the dead will likely eventually rise!

The country was forewarned - time and time again - of the eventuality of the following - under a dismantled MDPR scenario:

This was bound to happen! Even more sinister problems are fomenting with tacit approval of the government.

Under the MDPR regime, the above would have NEVER arisen. The MDPR protected both the tourists and the operators, including the entire gamut of players in the tourism business chain - from incidences of none payment or from none-delivery of promised services. The taxman remained assured that there would be no cases of evasion - the industry was fully under the control and grip of the national operators - rather than in the hands of the carpetbaggers from outside which is rumored to be NOW the trend in Bhutan’s tourism industry.

Today there are rumblings of cash dealings - resulting in unrecorded, clandestine transections that cannot be detected - unlike in the past under the MDPR regime. I am told that some government agencies are perplexed by the severe dip in inflow of foreign exchange and tax collection - despite the government’s claim of a quantum jump in tourist arrivals.

The government and the TCB cannot feign ignorance because they were forewarned - on countless occasions, including with a Note that was submitted to them many months before the passage of the ruinous Tourism Levy Act of Bhutan 2022 which, in part, read as follows:

No system is perfect and we are aware that several problems do exist in the tourism sector. The problems can be addressed if we take an objective and focused approach on those issues but not at the cost of dismantling the MDPR. The MDPR needs to be understood as a tool to improve our services, protect our Brand Bhutan, and add value to the overall growth of sustainable/high value tourism. The success of the MDPR can be seen by the rapid increase in socio-economic development of our people. Believing that the MDPR is an impediment to the growth of tourism is a falsehood - at best it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the principals on which the concept was founded. On the other hand, what is true is that it has empowered the Bhutanese people to have control over tourism growth. Therefore, removing it would have dire consequences on the country and the people of Bhutan. 

If ever a change is deemed necessary, the beneficial change would be to increase the MDPR even higher, from the existing level, which has remained unchanged for years.”

Will the government finally listen to the voices of the sane and the knowledgeable? A sitting government’s responsibility includes dismantling past evils - trying to get away by saying that they did not do it is - LAME!

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