Bhutanese tourism chiefs visit Lancaster
A delegation of senior figures from the Bhutanese tourism industry visited Lancaster University Tourism Centre this week.
On September 9th the visitors came to the Tourism Centre - based in the Department of Geography - to learn about the new developments in the region’s tourism sector as well as taking a tour around the University’s Information Technology research and business centre InfoLab21, http://www.infolab21.lancs.ac.uk/.
They visited the University as part of the European Union Asia-Invest exchange programme, which has brought together European partners from the UK, Denmark, and France with colleagues in Bhutan to enable greater ICT awareness and share best practice. The UK partner - Megaskills, a specialist consultancy focussing on supporting the adoption of digital technologies internationally, is an Associate Company with InfoLab21. Megaskills manager Michael Horton hopes the programme will encourage communication and assist development of IT&C and emerging eGovernance techniques within Bhutan
Bhutan - a small Himalayan country between India and China - was until the 1970s almost closed to the outside world. Today it is developing a low-impact high-value tourism strategy, which is founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. The number of tourists visiting Bhutan is also regulated.
The delegation was interested to learn about new tourism developments in Europe and current technology connected with the industry.
During their visit to the University the party also visited the University’s Tourism Centre:
http://www.learningtourism.lancs.ac.uk/ - a new resource in the Department of Geography for tourism professionals, academics, students and graduates, throughout the North West.
They heard a presentation about current thinking on tourism in the North West and sample some local produce.
The Tourism Centre's Director, Gordon Clark, said: "We are delighted to welcome our guests from Bhutan to Lancashire, and particularly to the University. By sharing our ideas and experiences from tourism in the North West we hope our guests will return to Bhutan with lots of ideas which will help their tourism economy thrive and develop into the kind of sustainable development Bhutan is aiming for."
Brian Povey, Northwest Regional Development Agency Tourism ICT manager, attended the visit. Meanwhile Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board presented to the delegates the latest details of their on-line and web-based tourism activity and its context within the North West and national framework.
Tara Sewell, Tourism Centre, based in the Department of Geography,
Mr. Sonam Dorji, General Secretary, Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators,
Mr. Pasang Wangdi, Deputy Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bhutan,
Mr. Karma P. Wangdi, Branch Manager, Druk Air Corporation Ltd, Thimphu, Bhutan,
Mr. Thuji Dorji Nadik, Joint Director, Department of Tourism, Bhutan,
Jane Johnson, business development officer, InfoLab Knowledge Business Building,
Michael Horton, Megaskills.