Non-star-rated hotels could cater to tourist says PM

Non-star-rated hotels like Blue Poppy I and II could cater to tourists in a few months. The Prime Minister said this during a meeting with the representative of the private sector at the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday. But the Prime Minister asked the tour operators to inform the tourists about the different types of hotels and to let the tourists decide where they want to stay.

Last year, the Department of Tourism issued a notification stating that only hotels certified by the department would be allowed to cater to tourists. According to the Hotel and Restaurant Association, this policy has affected non-star-rated hotels.

Tshewang Jurmi, the Vice Chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan said “when the new policy came into existence, it clearly reflected that only three-star and above hotels will be allowed to cater to the guest. This means almost 70 per cent of 638 hotels were deprived of catering to the guest as we cannot survive in this situation. The hotels have been going through so many struggles and issues. Almost 50 per cent of the hotels were non-functioning and quite a number of the hotels have been already closed because of the policy.”

However, during the meeting with the representative of the private sector, the Prime Minister asked the Department of Tourism to allow non-star-rated hotels or Blue poppy I and above to cater to tourists. Lyonchen further added this should be carried out with strict monitoring.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay tshering said ‘‘it is not only tourists paying Nu 1,200 per night, anyone can stay in hotels categorized as Blue Poppy I and II. This is not a problem. TCB will work on this as soon as possible if they do not have any objection to this. It is fine for the Blue poppy I and the above hotels to cater to tourists. We have no categories of tourists from today onwards.”

‘‘Today most of our members were excited and very happy that Lyonchhen immediately instructed the Department of Tourism to relook into this situation and Lyonchhen agreed that there will be a new category or a minimum standard set to allow for this group of hotels to cater to the guest. The standard of the hotels will be based on the comfort of the guest, the safety of the guest, the security of the guest, hygiene, and the service of the hotels if that is where the minimum standard is set. We should be allowed to cater to the guest that is what we requested and Lyonchhen has agreed to that.,” added Tshewang Jurmi.

An official from the Department of Tourism said they will look into the possibility of allowing non-star-rated hotels to cater to tourists in May and June when they carry out the rating review of the hotels rated three-star and above. He added that the department will go ahead with the works only after receiving an executive order from the government.

There are more than 600 registered non-star-rated hotels in the country.

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