Familiarization trip on community based sustainable tourism in Phobjikha.

A three days familiarization trip on Community Based Sustainable Tourism in Phobjikha was organized on 7th – 9th September 2007. The main objective of the trip was to:

> Sensitize Tour Operators on the importance of community based sustainable tourism in Phobjikha Conservation Area
> Familiarize Tour Operators on the ecotourism program in Phobjikha
> Familiarize Tour Operators with the local stakeholders
> Familiarize Tour Operators on the ecotourism green code of conduct
> Collect feedback and findings from them to improve the services provided

Seventeen tour operators, a representative from the Department of Tourism and the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators took part in the program.

The participants experienced some of the ecotourism activities in the valley.
On the first day they visited the Black-Necked Crane Information Centre where a presentation on the ecotourism project was made by the project officer. She highlighted on the importance of ecotourism as a contribution towards conservation efforts made by the society in the valley and as an alternative income earning source for the local communities apart from subsistence farming.

The participants were taken for field trips around the valley led by local guides to experience the local services provided by the communities. Services included tea and meals offered by local families, cultural programs, and visiting cultural sites and listening to local folk lore and stories.

On the third day the participants were introduced to the six hour long Shasila Nature Trail which starts from the valley and end at road point in Sha Khaylakha. The trail although used by the people of Gangtey and the Bjena during their migration has never been commonly used as a tourist trail.