September 21, 2007

Bhutan Participates In International Travel Fair Held in Japan

For the first time in two decades, representatives of Bhutan's tour companies and tourism officials attended one of Asia's largest travel industry exhibitions. The annual event, JATA (Japan Association of Travel Agents) World Travel Fair, was held in Tokyo from 14th to 16th of September, attracting 107,000 visitors in three days.

Four tour agencies exhibited brochures, pictures and other materials depicting natural beauty and cultural heritage of Bhutan, at a booth they jointly set up through the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO). A fifth travel agent from Thimphu independently leased a smaller booth next door. A Department of Tourism (DOT) official was among the 10-person delegation.

Despite its modest scale and simple presentation, dwarfed by the lavishly decorated, grand exhibitions of such big players in the international tourism as Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and China, the Bhutan booth attracted considerable attention of both business and individual visitors to the Fair. "I heard of Bhutan, but so far had little information. Now that I got these brochures, I will consider visiting your country in the near future," said a visitor who called herself a "travel mania."

"At JATA, Bhutan was officially represented only once before, and it was 21 years ago," said Michiko Wakita, a travel advisor in Tokyo. "It was rather frustrating that Bhutan was the sole missing name among Asian destinations at JATA in recent years." Wakita, who sent thousands of Japanese tourists to Bhutan over three decades as the manager and tour coordinator at Saiyu Travel Co., says she has been trying to persuade DOT to return to JATA. Retired from Saiyu and now an independent consultant, Wakita helped coordinate ABTO's participation in the JATA Fair this year, and "will be happy to continue to do so in the future."

"We considered exhibiting at JATA for quite some time," said Sonam Dorji, ABTO's general secretary who coordinated the Bhutan booth this year. Timing of JATA event, always in mid- to late-September which coincides with one of the busiest seasons for Bhutan's tour agents, was cited as one reason for Bhutan's absence from JATA for years. This year, however, a number of tour agents positively responded to ABTO's call for joint participation. "As the reserved space was limited, we had to turn down some late comers," Sonam Dorji noted.

Encouraged by the popular response the Bhutan booth enjoyed this year, ABTO already plans to come back to the JATA Fair of 2008, with "at least double the space from this year," according to Sonam Dorji, who also said that ABTO will participate in other international travel fairs in Europe next year.

A number of volunteer attendants joined the Bhutan booth, either personally or from Japan-Bhutan Friendship Association and other groups, offering interpretation and other assistance. The "go and kira experience" they staged proved especially popular, with families and couples queueing to be fitted with the traditional Bhutanese dress and to take pictures.
Source : Kuenselonline


Anonymous said...

I really liked your site for it's original content, but lately this site has just been recycling stuff from Kuensel.

Lets get back to the original content shall we?

ugyen said...

Hey Akoo,
Well indeed it has been long since i could write article myself and it is a recycle stuffs from kuenselonline. I got plenty to write about the Bhutan stuff but i had a problem, my Camera Got Away and had no chance of taking clip and pictures, There has been lot of Changes in Thimphu and i only wished that i had the camera. Don't worry, Things will be underway soon once someone Give away the Camera.

Thanks Though. Will keep this Blog Running...with lot of new stuffs

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