Haa launches tourism books, aims to attract 5,000 tourists next year

The Haa District Administration say it is on track to turn the district into a popular tourism destination. With the launch of two guidebooks yesterday at Chelela Pass, the district administration says it has taken one more step to achieve the district’s target of bringing 5,000 tourists to the district next year.

The first book titled “Harmonizing Avitourism and Conservation” is a pictorial guidebook showcasing the diverse bird species along the route from Tergola to Gakiling in Haa. It features images and informative narratives of some 120 birds surveyed around this route. It was contributed by the Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserves and the Bhutan Bird Life Society.

Similarly, the second publication is the Ecotourism Geo Mapping Survey Report of Haa. It provides detailed information on Haa’s hiking and trekking trails, and natural attractions across its six gewogs. It also includes historical descriptions and other details such as altitude, distance, and travel time of various monasteries and chortens in Haa.

“This is mainly to help promote Haa as one of the tourist destinations because we all know Haa has huge potential for tourism, it has a lot to offer. It is just that we have to promote it because despite its close proximity to the international airport and the capital city Thimphu, Haa has not been able to gain much attraction from the tourists,” said Phub Zam, tourism officer of the Department of Tourism.

Currently, most tourists go back to Paro and Thimphu after a sightseeing visit to Chelela.

The prime minister during his visit to Haa in April instructed the district administration to work towards attracting around 10,000 tourists to Haa next year.

“This year we are targeting to attract 2000 tourists visiting Haa and we are increasing our target to 5,000 next year. The prime minister wants us to bring 10,000 tourists to Haa but we told him that we would be able to make it to 5,000 next year because there are chances that things may not go as planned. The prime minister approved my proposal. So for next year, our target is 5,000,” said Melam Zangpo, Haa Dzongda.

People of Haa involved in the tourism sector are commending the initiative.

“As I went through the book, all the details of sacred sites such as Nobtshonapata, Tergola and other sites are mentioned in these books. Though we still receive some tourists at Haa, I am hopeful that the books will boost tourism in Haa,” said Kinley Wangchuk, a homestay owner.

“I think we were not really able to enter the tourist market so far. Now with the launch of these books, we are hopeful of receiving more tourists,” said Wangdi Tsheten, Chairperson of Haa Community Tourism Group.

The books will be distributed for free and are also available online. It is an outcome of collaborative work between the Haa District Administration, the Department of Tourism and Helvetas Bhutan.

Haa opened to tourism in 2002. Last year more than 900 tourists visited Haa.

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