Among international arrivals Japanese were the dominant visitors in the first seven months of this year according to records maintained by the secretariat of the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
As of July this year, 3,923 Japanese tourists had arrived in the country. Within the same period 2,561 American tourists had visited.
Tourism Council Secretariat’s recent proposal for funds from tour operators to support their functioning met with an outright denial from more than 100 tour operators, who had an emergency meeting yesterday in Thimphu.
In what should inject some rupees into the local economy, upwards of 3,000 high-end Indian tourists will be visiting Bhutan between May and July, as part of the Druk Air’s marketing collaboration with two online Indian tour companies.
Travel to Bhutan and you could fit this data. Travellers visiting Bhutan are mostly aged 45 and above, with the most dominant age group being over 60 years, and most were well educated, according to a survey carried out last year by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. In 2011, 64,028 international travellers visited Bhutan.
Bhutan tourism’s unique policy of “High Value, Low Impact” is indeed a priceless gift from our leaders and we must treasure it at any costs. For more than three decades after the inception of Bhutan’s tourism industry, this policy has contributed significantly in building an image for Bhutan as a most unique and exotic destination in the world.
Bhutan received 64,028 tourists in 2011, recording a 56.65 percent growth, the highest in the Bhutanese tourism history, according to Tourism Council of Bhutan’s annual report for 2011.
The Bhutanese tourism industry earned USD 47.68m from tourists last year, up by 32.52 percent from the previous year. Of this, The royalty generated for the country was USD 14.89m.
Tourism Council officials said these earnings do not include revenue from other sectors like airline, handicraft, and out-of-pocket spending.
Tourism industry is the largest contributor to Bhutan’s total revenue. There are hundreds of tour operators in the country, competing in this limited but lucrative market. The cut-throat competition has led to “undercutting” in the minimum daily tariff set for tourists, by some tour agents.