Until 2008, Bhutan was a small kingdom with less than 700,000 citizens and an emerging tourism industry. The monarchs strived to open up the kingdom to foreign tourist markets. In a bid to achieve this goal, Pero airstrip was upgraded and the Royal Bhutan Airlines was born. The airline was meant to facilitate tourists’ travel in and out of the monarch with a goal of increasing its growing tourism business. However, various challenges cropped up as the industry grew.
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Consequently, the airline’s management was forced to rethink their strategies. Several issues were involved including seasonal traffic variations, preservation of the local culture and geography, and flight booking among others. Moreover, Royal Bhutan Airlines was thinking of ways of improving revenue and one of the available alternatives was to introduce online booking, which would improve efficiency, hence increased number of clients.
Issues and actions
Since its inception, Drukair Airlines Company was a direct extension from the government. The company was upgraded from a simple government extension to ease the movement of tourists in and out of the tiny kingdom. However, some issues threatened to slow the growth of the tourism industry including corporate culture, logistical challenges, tariffs, seasonal traffic variations, and cumbersome wire money transfers. Such challenges deterred growth, and thus actions had to be taken. Since the government was keen on preserving the local culture, religion, and geography, it needed to look for a solution. It regulated the visiting number of tourists by setting a minimum entry tariff. The high entry fees charged encouraged high revenue and low traffic visitors. Seasonal traffic variations were a major issue that plagued the management.
During the low seasons, the airline experienced low cabin factor, which was a precursor to making losses. In a bid to deal with this issue, the management should consider the possibility if acquiring small aircrafts that would cut on the costs especially during low seasons. This move will help to eliminate incidences of low cabin factor experienced during low seasons. In addition, it will ensure that the large planes are not subjected to unnecessary depreciation.
The airline had to deal with logistical burdens too. Without online booking and interlining coupled with inept wire bank transfers, flight booking hectic. In order to address this issue, the CEO should establish an online portal for flight booking. In doing so, payments can be paid quickly and take less time to book a flight. Furthermore, the manager had to think over how to increase domestic flights on the existing infrastructure. Since most domestic travel happens during the low season, smaller jets should be purchased.
In a bid to surmount the geographical restrictions challenge posed by difficult terrain restrictions, Yonphulu airstrip should be upgraded to handle larger domestic flights alongside the common shuttle helicopters that it handles. Hence, travelling to the eastern sides will take lesser time than the ordinary three-hours on commute vans. By implementing all the suggested recommendations, the place will improve its economic prospects by reviving the tourism industry.
Bhutan is a wonderful country. With a rich cultural atmosphere, attractive geography, and fervent Buddhist religion adherents, the place is fascinating, and thus a rich tourists’ attraction hub. I must admit that I had no idea Bhutan was a country. Travelling to the country was inconveniencing, thus barring many people from going there. However, I would not mind spending a vacation there if same taxi services remain in place.