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International tourism mart in Thimphu

Bhutan’s renown as a most sought after destination is underlined by its hosting this event for a second time

Tourism: Bhutan will get a good chance to show tour operators from across the world first hand travel opportunities the country has to offer when it hosts an international “adventure travel and responsible tourism conference and mart” in Thimphu next week.

Organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) from February 4 to 6, the conference will offer “a tremendous platform” for tour agencies from Bhutan and other participating countries to seek out new frontiers and create new business opportunities in the tourism industry.

PATA is an association working to promote responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.

The international event is part of the Visit Bhutan year 2015, which the government has declared to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth King, who started tourism in the country.  As part of the celebrations, new tourism products will be launched in the country.

According to a press release from the association, the conference themed “Explore beyond tourism – Celebrate happiness” is the second such event held in Bhutan, after its first in Paro in 2012.

“The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary and immerse themselves in the lifestyle of contemporary Bhutanese,” said PATA. “It will provide a platform for tour operators involved in adventure travel to conduct their business in the most effective manner.”

Tourism Council of Bhutan said PATA’s decision to award the hosting right to Bhutan validates the country’s growing reputation as one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world.  Amid nurturing social, political and economic transformation, the country continues to endeavour to provide a unique experience for tourists. The press release said TCB was privileged to host the event.

The conference is expected to bring in more tourists in the country.  About 116,200 tourists visited Bhutan last year, 52,700 of who were dollars paying tourists.

Meanwhile, the government has said it would also promote domestic tourism and encourage locals to go on holidays and pilgrimage within the country. Two pilgrimage tours to sacred places in the country are being developed.

In a press release, PATA said, “During these challenging times, Bhutan is the perfect place to celebrate happiness, explore beyond tourism and examine Responsible and Sustainable Tourism growth across the region.”

MB Subba

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