Tourist arrivals earn over US$ 79mn last year

The is an increase of 8.2% in gross earning as compared to 2016

The gross earnings from tourist arrivals amounted to US$ 79.807mn in 2017.

The tourism sector contributed revenue of more than US$ 22mn in 2016 and more than Us$ 20mn in 2015.

In 2017, the gross earnings from tourism saw an increase of 8.2% compared to 2016. This gross earning includes – Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), visa fees, Tax Deducted at Source, and tour operator net amount.

The total SDF earn last year included US$ 22.36mn and US$ 20.28mn in 2016.  There was an increase of 10.26% including direct government revenue, in addition to visa fees and other taxes.

Last year, Bhutan received a total of 254,704 visitors in 2017, of which 71,417 were international arrivals and 183, 287 regional. The overall growth in arrival is 21.5% over 2016. In 2016, 209, 570 tourists arrived in the country.

According to records with the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), of the total 71,417 international arrivals, 62,272 were international leisure arrivals and 9,145 were official and business arrivals. The international arrivals recorded a growth of 14.1% in 2017 compared to only 9.1% growth in 2016.

A total of 183, 287 regional visitors visited Bhutan in 2017, an increase of 24.9 % compared to 2016 which saw a total of 146,797 visitors.

The percentage increase of regional tourist decreased in 2017 by more than 50%. Bhutan saw an increase of 50.43% in 2016 compared to 24.9% increase in 2017.

The ‘Bhutan – Korea Friendship Offer’ resulted in increased arrivals from South Korea propelling it to the top 10 source markets for Bhutan in 2017.

Bhutan received a total of 6,048 South Korean visitors in 2017 as compared to only 1,035 in 2016.

Last year, Indian tourists comprised the highest arrivals. The total Indian tourists who visited last year was 172,751 followed by 10,536 Bangladeshi tourists. The top 10 countries from which maximum tourists visited the country last year were India, Bangladesh, USA, China, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the UK, Germany and Malaysia.

However, compared to 2016, last year saw a 30% decrease in tourist arrivals from China.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu