Tourist arrival up by almost 100 per cent in first quarter of 2024

Going by the figures from the Department of Tourism, the tourism sector is finally witnessing the much-awaited surge in arrivals. Tourist arrivals for the first quarter of this year increased by almost one hundred per cent compared to the same period last year. Over 25,000 tourists visited Bhutan in the last three months. According to the Department of Tourism, 50 per cent waiver of the sustainable development fee since last year has made Bhutan more affordable for tourists and is an important factor for the rise in tourist numbers among other reasons.

With close to 15,000 tourist arrivals, March month received the highest number of tourists this year.

This includes 2,500 tourists that visited the country during the four-day Paro tshechu.

Officials with the tourism department said that this is a good sign that the tourism sector is reviving in the country.

“There has also been a substantial increase in global awareness among travel agents and guests worldwide, thanks to all the commercial efforts and extensive media coverage about Bhutan. These efforts have led to a surge in attraction. It always takes time to promote and think about booking a trip to Bhutan,” said Carissa Nimah, the Chief Marketing Officer of the Department of Tourism.

She added that Bhutan being listed as one of the top destinations to visit in 2024 in many of the world’s top publications has also helped raise the country’s profile among tourists.

She said the main factor nonetheless, is the 50 per cent SDF waiver. The SDF was reduced from USD 200  per night per person to USD 100 per person per night from September last year.

While the total booking for this year’s spring is not available, the Department of Tourism generated a total revenue of USD 9 M which is equivalent to Nu 750 M in the past three months.

Meanwhile, around 89,000 tourists visited the country last year after the SDF revision and generated a revenue of around USD 22 M for the government.

In 2018, the country received more than 300,000 tourists and generated a revenue of over USD 26 M to the government from SDF.

Namgay Dema

Edited by Phub Gyem

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