The Gangtey-Phobji Eco Camp- the triple nexus of sustainable tourism, nature conservation, and women empowerment.
With the funding support from Bhutan for Life program, the Department of Forest and Park Services established a six women-led eco-camp in 2022 which is a perfect embodiment of sustainable tourism, nature conservation and women empowerment. This unique retreat, led by six dedicated women, has become a monument to the dedication of community, perseverance, and a shared love for nature.
The Gangtey-Phobji Eco-Camp is situated at Dazijab, under Phobjikha Gewog. The camp site is spread across 0.50 acres and provides a panaromic view of the pristine Phobjikha valley. The visitors can witness the majestic black-necked cranes, an endangered species that makes the valley their winter home.
Further, the by-laws and business plans were developed for operation of the eco-camp site. It was handed over to the group in presence of officials from the Local Government and Nature Conservation Division under the Department of Forest and Park Services. Therefore, the group runs the campsite independently based on the by-laws.
The Department of Forest and Park Services through the funding support from Bhutan for Life continues to support the eco camp by providing culinary training, equipment and infrastructure developments around the campsite. They have received two Culinary Trainings focusing on Bhutanese, Indian and Chinese cuisines in 2022, kitchen utensils and two numbers of 4-men tents till date.
“Eco-camp has been very useful in terms of waste management,” said Ms. Tandin Wangmo,25 , who serves as an Accountant for the camp. “We use all the local produce such as butter, cheese, vegetables, and other ingredients for our meals, so this has helped our local community with a decent income for their livelihoods.” she added.
The eco-camp is a model for community-based sustainable tourism that contributes to conservation of the pristine natural environment of Gangtey-Phobjikha Valley, protects the crane’s habitat, conserves its local culture whilst contributing to socio-economic benefits for local communities. More importantly, it reduces human encroachment in the RAMSAR wetland by providing dedicated space for the visitors to camp during their stay. Further, it also addresses waste management issues and helps maintain a clean environment for the visitors.
The women-led eco-camp is a significant step towards women empowerment. It provides employment opportunities and generates income for the youths. This in turn enhances their leadership roles, decision-making abilities, and economic opportunities. They have generated over Nu. 100,000 in a year (2022) with monthly visitors of more than 7 groups. These women become role models in their community, inspiring other women and girls to take on similar roles and contribute to their community’s development.
The Gangtey-Phobji Eco Camp provides the following services according to the visitor’s choice:
- Full Package includes tents, well prepared two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) as per the order at just Nu. 800 per head per night
- Partial Package includes:
- Use of Kitchen/utensils (no groceries provided): Nu. 1000 per night
- Hire a cook/Cooking services (no groceries provided)- Nu. 1000 per night
- Tents (if provided): Nu. 250 per head per night and Nu. 150 per head per night if visitors bring their own tents.
- Lunch and picnic spot within the eco-camp for the day visitors- Nu. 150 per group.
- Bonfire and set-up: Nu. 250 per bundle (firewood)
- Sound system: Nu. 500 per night
- Free facilities:
- Welcome Tea
- Electricity and power sockets
- 24×7 water supply
- Dining Hall
- Canopy for sound system
- Signature Dish of Eco-camp
- Local Pizza (Veg and Non-veg) tailored to Bhutanese, Indian and Western taste
* package is customized based on the visitor’s request.
The six women leading the camp have made it their mission to provide an authentic getaway for visitors while preserving the valley’s natural beauty and biodiversity. The success of the Gangtey-Phobji Eco Camp is a perfect example of how tourism and conservation can coexist harmoniously. They have embraced sustainable development pathways, ensuring that their operations do not disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem.
Eco-camp Group Members:
- Phuntsho Choden, Chairperson
- Tandin Wangmo, Accountant,
- Nim Bida, Member
- Tshering Chenzom, Member
- Karma Wangmo, Member
- Phub Dema, Member
Contact Information for reservation: