In the wake of a major surge of tourist inflows, leaving the residents and pilgrims jostling for space in the country’s holy shrines, Bhutan’s Tourism Council recently shut down the temple to all tourists for the peak season.
“It was suffocating for the mothers who were trying to get blessings for their children,” explains a guard outside the temple, “They could barely say their prayers and they were very upset,” he added.
As a matter of fact, Bhutan has been a tourist magnet for people from across the globe, over the last few decades.
The official notice put on a board outside the temple, stated that the closure was in the “interest of the safety of the tourists”, and was done so as to allow “important religious events” to be conducted inside.
Along with this, the government has also decided to levy as entrance fees for a number of temples, and monasteries in the country.
“Indian visitors are very welcome in Bhutan, but if our infrastructure is not able to cater to them, or if our tourism industry is unable to entertain the guests well, then that is not good for them either. We wouldn’t want such a situation to impinge upon the Indo-Bhutan relationship,” Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering told The Hindu.
Talking about the issue in an interview at his office in Thimphu, Dr. Tshering said, “The increasing numbers of tourist arrivals are to our advantage economically, but our biggest worry is that there should be no friction between our visitors and our Bhutanese people.”
Last modified: June 18, 2019