9237 tourists received in November

Significant increase in tourist arrivals

Bhutan welcomed 23,547 visitors in May 2024, marking the highest monthly arrivals since reopening after the pandemic, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).

From January 1 to May 31, 2024, Bhutan received a total of 64,941 guests, a significant increase compared to the 43,074 visitors during the same period in 2023. In May 2023, the country saw 16,609 arrivals, and the estimated Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) revenue collected between January and May 2024 is approximately USD 16.25 million.

A breakdown of the 2024 visitor arrivals shows that 66% originated from India, while the remaining 34% came from the US, China, the UK, Germany, Singapore, France, Italy, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and Canada, among others. Excluding Indian arrivals, other international visitor arrivals reached 21,507 this year, compared to 11,259 during the same period in 2023. Indian arrivals totaled 43,434 in 2024, up from 31,815 last year, according to the department.

Several source markets, including the USA, Malaysia, Spain, and Singapore, have exceeded or are very close to pre-pandemic levels. Overall international arrivals, excluding Indian visitors who were exempt from SDF at the time, are at 78% of the levels seen during the same period in 2019. Notably, there were more international arrivals in May 2024 than in May 2019.

In a significant notice, the past three months have seen a noticeable increase in guests arriving from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Australia, Canada, Italy, Taiwan, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, Japan, Israel, and the Philippines.

The department is continuing its marketing outreach in all markets, including dedicated marketing campaigns, digital campaigns, sales activities, events, roadshows, and advertising, among other strategies. The department is committed to showcasing Bhutan and attracting visitors through various activities, including targeted digital marketing campaigns to raise awareness about Bhutan as a tourist destination in key source markets.

Meanwhile, Bhutan has received several awards recently, including the esteemed award for Best Sustainability Initiative by a Destination at the 2023 Luxury Travel Gold List Awards in Australia. Bhutan also received the โ€˜Outstanding Destination Excellence Awardโ€™ at the 18th National Geographic Traveler China Golden Awards Ceremony, marking the first such recognition in the China market.

These achievements underscore Bhutanโ€™s growing reputation as a premier travel destination, blending sustainable tourism with rich cultural heritage. The increase in tourist arrivals and the accolades received highlight Bhutanโ€™s success in navigating the post-pandemic travel landscape and its ongoing efforts to attract and accommodate international visitors.

Staff Reporter, Thimphu