Business in Bhutan

An Austrian business delegation was visiting Bhutan.

The Commercial Section of the Austrian Embassy in New Delhi (Advantage Austria India), in collaboration with the Austrian Coordination Office of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) in Bhutan and the Royal Government of Bhutan, was organizing a business delegation to Bhutan in October, 2016, comprising of thirteen Austrian companies.

Led by the President of the Tourism and Leisure Industry Branch within the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Mrs. Petra Nocker-Schwarzenbacher, the 21 members of the delegation were visiting Bhutan to deepen their insight knowledge of this region, gather information on potential business projects and explore potential partnerships for future cooperation.

These Austrian companies came from various sectors, mainly renewable energy and infrastructure, tourism, health-care, e-governance, and higher as well as vocational education. During their visit, the delegation met with different governmental and private organizations and also participated at the Bhutan-Austria Economic Forum and two inclusive round table meetings on energy and tourism.

Tremendous potential

“Austria and Bhutan have tremendous potential of developing an even closer business relation in the future in the spirit of “trade, not (only) aid”, especially since both countries share many topographical similarities. The technical know-how of Austria is already valued in Bhutan due to a number of successful projects during the last 27 years, such as the construction of hydropower plants which had been constructed with broad Austrian support. We do not only see opportunities in the energy sector, but also in the area of tourism, health and e-government”, says the Commercial Counsellor at the Austrian Embassy, Dr. Oskar Andesner, who accompanied the Business Mission.

The Austrian Delegation had the great honor to meet the Hon’ble Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobqay for presentations and consultations. The Hon’ble Minister of Economic Affairs Lyonpo Lekey Dorji addressed the delegates at the Bhutan-Austria Economic Forum which was jointly co-organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Bhutanese Chamber of Commerce.

Unique opportunity

“The business mission brings a unique opportunity to raise the bilateral economic relations between Bhutan and Austria up to a new level. The broad participation of high level RGoB representatives, Members of Parliament, VET Directors, diverse associations and private businesses would help to establish a tighter bilateral business network. This effort aligns perfectly with the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) goals towards poverty reduction as well as the development of the energy, tourism and governance sector. The current ADC program and bilateral business cooperation in Bhutan create broader business, qualification and employment opportunities. ADC has a specific business-to-business financing tool at hand to support private businesses with a development approach, including know how transfer and capacity development. In addition a broad range of world class Austrian companies have been working as consultants in the bilateral development program over the years. They have assisted in building up the country`s expertise across the mentioned dynamic development sectors”, emphasizes Dr. Johannes Binder, the Head of the Austrian Coordination Office, Thimphu.