Himalayan country Bhutan is still maintaining mandatory 21 days quarantine for all travellers. Now the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) has urged the health ministry to ease the restrictions by cutting it down to three days or altogether withdrawing it. If accepted, it will open up the door to welcome guests from outside.
Bhutan’s next focus is on ‘Bubble Tourism.’ Also known as Green Lanes or Travel Corridors, Bubble Tourism is a travelling partnership between two countries with high success rate in containing or combating Covid 19.
According to TCB director general Dorji Dhradhul, under Bubble Tourism handshaking, countries need to agree upon special bilateral travel arrangements including no quarantine restriction among themselves.
“This initiative is a very positive move. As the concept demands a suitable partner country, for Bhutan, its next door neighbour India is the best suited one,” said veteran tourism consultant Raj Basu. As an additional advantage for them, citizens of one country do not need a passport or visa to enter into the other crossing International border in between that is ‘open’ under a friendship treaty.
With only 245 corona positive cases and no deaths in the country of 7.8 lakh population Bhutan is definitely a preferred choice for travellers. On the other side, India’s population vs infection or death ratio are also far better than many developed countries.
Eventually, “India and Bhutan can form a perfect partnership. Parallel to Bhutan’s initiative, we are also taking up the matter with Indian authorities to form a strong Bubble Tourism bondage,” said Samrat Sanyal, Secretary,
Himalayan Hospitality and
Tourism Development Network.
With closure since March end, Bhutan tourism arena has already lost over 90 percent of its usual business. The trade yielded a business worth around INR 2.4 crore from over 3 lakh tourists in 2019.
On the other side, Eastern India tourism sector has also lost business worth several hundred crores. “Indo-Bhutan bubble tourism can compensate this to a great extent for both the countries. We are also persuading this at various levels,” said Sanjit Saha, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industries, North Bengal Chapter.