Bhutan sees spike in international tourists, tourism industry resurges
Among the international tourists in Bhutan, a large number were of those who paid the new sustainable development fee (SDF) than those who paid previous rate
Bhutan has received more than 52,000 tourists in the past eight months, The Bhutan Live reported. The Bhutanese Tourism Department has described the statistics as a positive trend in the tourism industry's resurgence.
Among the international tourists, a large number of visitors were those who paid the new sustainable development fee (SDF) exceeding those who paid the previous rate, as per the news report.
Among international tourists, over 32,500 are Indian tourists who paid Nu 1,200 per night. Of over 19,000 international tourists, a little more than half of them visited Bhutan under the new SDF, according to The Bhutan Live report. However, Tourism Department has said that this data does not include the visitors who came for official purposes.
Dorji Dhradhul, Director General of Department of Tourism, said, "In terms of the new SDF, we feel that it is now slowly picking up because when we started on September 23rd because of the enhanced SDF rate, our arrivals could be really impacted but now what we are seeing in the figures is that it's picking up and as of today the total number of tourist paying the new SDF seems to be a little bit higher than the old SDF rate."
Dhradhul said that the revision of the SDF to USD 200 per cent per night had initially raised concerns among service providers. However, considering the current trend, the Tourism Department said that the tourist arrivals are beyond the department's forecast, as per The Bhutan Live report.
"As of today, we seriously believe that our tourism recovery is doing very well especially when compared to other countries in the region. For instance, the arrivals in April were about 45 per cent more than what we have forecasted," Dorji Dhradhul said.
The Guide Association of Bhutan has noted an increase in the number of tourists travelling to Bhutan. Garab Dorji, Chairperson of the Guide Association of Bhutan said that the number of tourists arriving in Bhutan has witnessed a rise and called it a "good trend," as per the news report.
"As the Tourism Department has rightly said that the number of tourist arrival is more than the forecast that they had and the number of arrival of tourists especially from India has also shot up. We are having sometimes difficulty in allocating guides. This is a good trend," Garab Dorji said as The Bhutan Live reported.
The top ten tourist arrivals in Bhutan in the past eight months were from nations like India, America, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and others. More than 13,700 tourists arrived in Bhutan in April, which shows a rise of around 87 per cent in comparison to March which saw over 7000 arrivals. The Department has projected that Bhutan will receive around 98,000 tourists in 2023 and expressed hope that the target will be achieved.