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Woman weaving kira in her handloom
Source: Goggle

Khoma has the goods but yearns for the infrastructure

… And the tourists who will enhance their trade and livelihood
Lhuentse known for its intricately woven Kishutharas craves for tourism facilities to promote the trade as it is the dzongkhag’s one of the more potential means to a better livelihood.
The lack of proper infrastructure such as resorts, proper home stay and other lodging means however hold back the number of tourists in the region.
Tour operators say that the few tourist who visit Lhuentse Dzongkhag; particularly in Khoma gewog had to do day excursions or pitch tent and halt their night.
Lhuentse community nonetheless is quite optimistic to have standard resorts like other dzongkhags and attract more tourists.
In a positive turn to it, the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) has given packages to all the tour operators and aims for a regional balance in the country.
“Accessibility should be there and domestic air services would have balanced development,” said the TCB Media Focal person, Damcho Rinzin.
TCB plans to work with all other stakeholders for further regional balanced development.
An official from Sakten Tours and Treks said during the spring season few tourist visited Lhuentse via domestic air services. “Since the domestic air service is not operational at the moment, we cannot afford to take them to eastern regions,” he said.
Bhutan Journey’s proprietor Sonam Chophel said they manage by setting up tents and in home stays, which is not that good for tourist to stay.
On the other hand Kishuthara weavers and dealers in the region are discouraged with only few buyers in the community and.
According to the Khoma Gewog Gup Sithar Tshering the Community goes to sell finished products in the capital city and tourists who hardly visits Lhuentse buys the product.
Former Gup and dealer for Kishuthara, Khamtu said to bring the goods all the way from Lhuentse to Thimphu is very difficult especially during monsoon and the winter seasons.
In a year the dealers come to Thimphu carrying more than Nu 1mn worth kiras, table cloths and other related items.
Khamtu, who has been in this business for more than a decade said there are list of inconveniences they face while bringing Kishuthara all the way from Lhuentse to the capital city.
“Apart from unpredictable weather, it’s quite hesitant to depend on relatives and peers in capital city to sell the products,” he said.
On behalf of the dzongkhag the Gup suggested one center in the Dzongkhag so that all the weavers can supply and one nominated representative would deal with the business if government cannot include the gewog as a tourist spot.
“Last year we had around 250 visitors in our gewog and the numbers are increasing gradually. It will escalate after Thimphu Tsechu,” said Khamtu.
Around 75% of the Lhuentse population depend on this small cottage industry while rest takes refuge on agriculture activities.
The Lhuentse National Assembly MP Karma Rangdol said it should be encouraged in that region as tourists mainly visit it for Kishuthara products.
“Government is trying to boost tourism facilities in Lhuentse but distance is the main problem despite,” he added.
Similarly Lhuentse National Council member Rinzin Rinzin said that only proper lodging facilities would encourage tourists to visit more frequently.
He said he doesn’t have much idea on how government is planning but there is a dire need of help to attract tourists and develop Lhuentse indirectly.

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