RTC students and faculty participated in a workshop on Ecotourism in Gangtok, Sikkim from March 30th to April 2nd. The workshop was facilitated by the University of Sikkim and also included participants from Kathmandu University. Researchers from all three institutions presented findings related to ecotourism research that was conducted over the last 18 months.
The workshop was part of a collaborative research project funded by a seed grant provided by the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC), a chapter of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) based in Kathmandu, Nepal. RTC was a successful recipient of the seed grant, and initiated research with Sikkim and Kathmandu Universities in October 2015. The ecotourism research was initiated in order to build the research capacity of faculty members and students, and to generate critical knowledge that might affect future tourism policy direction. Mr. Jesse Montes, a faculty member from the Environmental Studies department at RTC, led the project.
A number of RTC students and faculty members participated in research methods trainings and conducted multiple separate field stints to Phobjikha, Haa, and the Druk Path trek. Ten students joined the project because of their interest in research, travelling and engaging in holistic learning. The experience has helped the students develop research skills and to embrace an adventurous and experiential learning process. They trekked through the ‘Druk Path’, a six day trek through gorgeous natural landscape of blue pine forests, high ridges and pristine lakes while making key research observations and interviewing local communities along the way. The students also actively participated in a week-long field research stint at Phobjikha, where they carried out field GPS measurements and interviewed and interacted with the local communities and visitors attending the unique Black Necked Crane Festival. Jangchuk, a 3rd year student, says of his experience, “Through this opportunity, I had great experiences in which I developed good research skills, which will be beneficial in the job market.”
Royal Thimphu College looks forward to expanding research opportunities for its faculty and students in line with its mission “To be a crucible of new ideas and knowledge that serves to enrich people’s lives and enhance the welfare of society.”