June 2: Ever since His Majesty the King visited Thailand in 2006 as the Trongsa Penlop, the number of Thai tourists visiting Bhutan has increased steadily.
Trade with Thailand has also grown over the years with a growing number of Bhutanese visiting Thailand either on business, for treatment or on holiday.
To cater to the growing need, the Royal Thai Consulate in Thimphu organizes Thai language courses. On Saturday, 12 Bhutanese guides, graduates, office goers and businessmen completed a four month basic course in Thai language.
In 2005, about 100 Thai tourists visited Bhutan. But by 2007, this figure grew to 700.
Chimi Pem, the Spokesperson of the Tourism Council of Bhutan, said following His Majesty’s visit, the number of Thai tourist visiting Bhutan has increased steadily. She said with the number of Thai tourists visiting Bhutan growing every year, it has become important for tour guides to learn Thai language since most of them cannot speak English.
Sasiwan Kludkesa, a Thai Language Instructor said at the moment there aren’t many Bhutanese who can speak Thai language and the Thai people hardly speak English. She said she hope the guides will be able to communicate better with the Thai tourists who will be coming in for the coronation of His Majesty the King.
For the guides they were hoping that they will be able to speak but 3 months duration of the course is too short for one guy to be able to learn and guide in Thai.
Participants said they want to continue learning the language. They said they want to upgrade their Thai language.