Bhutan, a hot and trending destination-International Agents
A total of 9237 tourists arrived in the country in the month of November this year, accounting for those guests who came in only on a tourist visa excluding all other categories.
“This represents a 10.58% increase over forecasted figures,” the Director General (DG) of Department of Tourism (DoT), Dorji Dhradhul said. According to the department, the maximum guests were received from India accounting to 5851 guests, followed by 780 guests from the USA, and 280 guests from the UK in the month of November, 2023.
Similarly, 192 guests were also received from China while the country also received guests from Germany and Vietnam accounting to 185 guests and 178 guests each respectively. The least number of guests received were from the Netherlands with 106 guests, followed by 127 guests from Australia and 174 guests from Singapore.
Comparing the number of tourist arrivals in the month of October and November, Dorji Dhradhul said that Bhutan received 16465 tourists in October and 9237 tourists in November.
“October is traditionally a busier month for travel to Bhutan when compared with November, as there are more festivals happening in October, and the weather is very pleasant,” Dorji Dhradhul said, adding that October month is typically a busier travel period normally with some half-term school breaks and more travels planned.
Meanwhile, the department is also continuing with the marketing outreach in all markets, including dedicated marketing campaigns, digital campaigns, sales activities, events and road shows and advertising, amongst other.
In addition, the department is also continuing the familiarization trips (FAM trips) from global agents as well as dedicated press and PR trips.
Concerning on the challenges faced by the department, the DG said that the airline prices and routes still remain a concern. However, he added that it’s good to see the drop in price of air tickets for SAARC nationals.
Similarly, on the issue of the financial payment infrastructure, the department said that those issues concerning on the payment infrastructure for tourists visiting Bhutan are being addressed by the relevant stakeholders.
In addition, the department also shared that the common tourist complaints are mostly related to rubbish and waste issues, lack of clean and adequate washroom infrastructures, amongst others.
The DG shared that the closure of the entry and exit gates in Samdrup Jongkhar remains a concern. However, the DG said that the department is yet to receive a formal approval from the government.
“At the government level it has been verbally agreed however, a formal approval is yet to be received,” the DG said. “Once we receive the formal approval from our government, we will announce that the gates are open for guests of all nationalities.”
Meanwhile, the department has also received good feedbacks from visitors into the country. “We have just returned from road shows in Europe and participation at ILTM Cannes, the biggest luxury travel tradeshow of the year, held annually in France.” Dorji Dhradhul said, “The feedback about Bhutan from the international travel agents were exceptionally good, and many people said that Bhutan is a hot and trending destination, and many people are talking about Bhutan.”
Bhutan have also received several awards recently, including Bhutan being bestowed with the esteemed award-Best Sustainability Initiative by a Destination at the 2023 Luxury Travel Gold List Awards Australia. Sonam Tobgay, the Bhutanese Ambassador to Australia, accepted this accolade during the awards ceremony in Sydney recently. “We are hopeful to win another award soon,” the DG said.
Sherab Dorji from Thimphu