Crane Count (2012-2013)
|Chumey (Bumthang)||5 Cranes|
|Last updated on January 28, 2013|
Related Page Links
Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods
Phobjikha is increasingly becoming a favored destination for most tourists and national visitors alike. This has come with the challenge of maintaining and conserving the biodiversity and ecological richness of the valley that is becoming vulnerable to anthropogenic interventions. The valley encompasses one of the biggest habitats for the globally endangered Black-necked Cranes, which is one of the main attractions for visitors. With easy access and relatively light conservation rules and regulations in the area, (as compared to national parks) conserving this birds and its habitat has become a major challenge for conservation organizations.
In such a scenario, local people play a major role in the future of environment conservation in the area. Therefore integrating community needs with conservation objectives has become crucial for success of conservation. Alternative programs like the community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) offers livelihood choices that is extremely important in the context of current situation where tourism is increasing inevitably in the area. At the present scenario however, most of the tourism benefit is reaped by major tour companies from outside the valley, that hardly benefits the local economy or the environment.
Economically, local people in Phobjikha still depend heavily on potato cultivation, which generates one time annual income. The national tourism policy characterized by fixed tariffs has failed to bring direct benefit to the local communities. CBST has the potential to bring the benefit directly to people at the grassroots level. CBST also presents an opportunity to foster among local community, an environmentally responsible means of income generation.
Goals and Objectives
Goals and Objectives
Phobjikha valley as a model community-based sustainable tourism destination that contributes to conservation of the natural environment, the protection of the crane habitat, conservation of culture, and at the same time contributes to socio-economic benefits of communities in the valley.
- Generate awareness among tour guides/operators and the local people on importance of CBST and strengthen community-tour operator partnership.
- Enhance alternative income opportunities for local communities by supporting tourism related skills development and services.
- Promote village excursions
- Familiarization and awareness for tour guides/operators:
Awareness and education on importance of CBST (community-based sustainable tourism) will be carried out for interested tour guides/operators. Besides, the program is intended to strengthen partnership and develop networking for common benefit; deliberate and address issues of common interests.
- Support alternative income generating activities:
Various income generating options such as home-stay, local guide, operation of photographic hides and handicraft/souvenir development will be introduced to the community, through capacity development, financial support and technical support.
- Initiate village excursions:
Village tour will be promoted to add variation to visitor experience and offer income opportunity for households within the area. It will involve development of interpretation boards, documentation of informations and development of tour packages involving community.
- Cost-benefit study of community-based sustainable tourism in Phobjikha:
A study will be carried out to understand the current and predicted socioeconomic benefits/costs in promoting tourism in Phobjikha support marketing of the products: As a marketing mechanism, products developed through this project will be promoted through website and promotional handouts.
- Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO)
- Tourism Council of Bhutan
- Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (Ministry of agriculture, Royal government of Bhutan)
- Guide Association of Bhutan
- Phobjikha Environment Management Committee.
Issues and Problems
Issues and Problems
1. Unregulated tourism in ecologically significant conservation area
Phobjikha is considered important for conservation because of its status as the habitat for the Black-necked Cranes. Over the past few years, the valley has observed significant increase in visitors mainly because of its fairly intact natural environment and occurrence of the rare Black-necked Cranes. This situation if not managed cautiously may prove detrimental to the present state of environment on which tourism in the valley is dependent. While it would not be easy to control the number of visitors flowing into the valley, it is essential to have in place appropriate management measures that are sensitive to natural environment. Implementation of properly managed and guided tourism using CBST is therefore crucial and most appropriate. This will be in the best interest of conservation as well as local benefit.
2. Minimum benefits to the community from existing tourism arrangements
Given its unique and picturesque landscape, Phobjikha valley is already portrayed as a tourist destination. In 2005 alone, 2,098 tourists visited the valley (source, PLCA management plan) and with the introduction of grid electricity by 2008, the flow of tourists and tourism related infrastructure and investment will accelerate and pose serious threats to the original habitat of the bird and associated species. Ironically, the local people benefit very less from the tourism industry as they lack the capacity to provide either services or products to cater to the needs of the visitors. The existing tourism facilities are owned by people from outside the valley who dominate the service industry and business. Therefore, a tourism program that is environmentally conducive and favourable to the local economic interests is essential in order to bring direct benefits to the local people. This is also expected to lead to community ownership of local resources and responsibility for preservation which is crucial for long term conservation.