Chinese tourists dominate Bhutan’s tourism market
Chinese tourists have become one of the most important sources of income for Bhutan over the last few years. It took the top position in 2015 constituting 19.3 percent of total tourist arrivals in the country.
The number of Chinese tourists in Bhutan remains modest, but it was a remarkable increase over the years.
Chinese tourist visit to Bhutan was second in 2014. Their arrivals grew by 15.9 percent in 2015 to 9,399 individuals, up from 8,111 in 2014.
Cultural sightseeing and related activities topped the preferred activities for more than 90 percent of Chinese tourist arrivals last year, according to Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB). TCB also found there were more female Chinese visitors than males.
A large number of the tourists were between the ages of 35-45 years, followed by the age group of 46-55 years. The 8.14 percent of tourists between 56-60 years and 10.71 percent above 60 years visited Bhutan. TCB also highlighted that over the last five years, the number of Chinese tourists has shown continuous increase.
The majority of Chinese tourists visited Bhutan for spiritual and wellness, followed by Malaysians.
The Americans stand in the third source market with the majority of them visiting for adventure tourism, followed by the British and Chinese.
The USA stands next to China with a total of 7,137 Americans visiting Bhutan in 2015. However, it dropped 2.1 percent from 2014 when 7,291 Americans visited Bhutan and ranked the thirdhighest source market.
Followed by the USA, a total of 3,778 Thai tourists visited Bhutan. The annual report of TCB 2015 states that it was a sharp drop of 68.8% from 2014 when Thailand topped source markets.
Americans dominated the trekking category, followed by the British. Tourists who dominated nature tourism were also from the USA followed by the UK. Tourists from China, the USA, and Thailand dominated visits for the tshechus and festivals, according to TCB.
The top 10 in 2015 were China followed by the US, Thailand, the UK, Singapore, Germany, Japan, Australia, France and Malaysia.
TCB also states that a close examination of overall characteristics, performance trends, performances and behavior by visitors from the 10 countries helps to understand past behavior, emerging developments, and prepare for the future.
In Bhutan, the travel and tourism sector continues to account for a large part of the economy next to hydropower.
The total arrivals of regional and international visitors increased to 155,121. This represented a growth of 16.21 percent over 2014.
Globally, tourist arrival in 2015 has increased by 4.4 percent to 1.184 billion from the previous year, with 50 million more tourists visiting destinations around the world.