Max­i­mum re­gional tourist ar­rivals in May last year

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Dechen Dolkar from Thim­phu

In the last five years, the max­i­mum num­ber of re­gional tourists vis­ited the coun­try in May last year at a record 23,694, ac­cord­ing to the Bhutan Tourism Mon­i­tor 2016.

The re­port states that the to­tal num­ber of re­gional tourists vis­it­ing last year stood at 146, 797 of which 114,301 were In­di­ans and 7,753 from Bangladesh.

Re­gional vis­i­tors con­sti­tuted 70% of all ar­rivals to Bhutan of which 69% ar­rived over land. More than 20% of tourists vis­ited in May while Fe­bru­ary saw the least with 3,379.

How­ever, in case of tourists from Bangladesh, the high­est num­ber of vis­i­ta­tions oc­curred dur­ing July and the low­est in June.

The ma­jor­ity of vis­i­tors from the re­gion was from In­dia with 98% fol­lowed by Bangladesh with 1.5%. Vis­i­tors from Mal­dives com­prised only 0.4%.

Re­gional tourists were mostly male com­pris­ing more than 64% of the to­tal. More than 50% of re­gional tourists fell within the age range of 22-45 years.

Around 68% of the vis­i­tors came through pack­age tours while 31% trav­eled on their own. Around 24% of the re­gional re­spon­dent ar­rivals availed pack­ages of­fered by Bhutanese tour op­er­a­tors

Al­most 44% of the re­gional vis­i­tor ar­rivals in Bhutan came with their fam­ily mem­bers; while very less per­cent­age of to­tal vis­i­tors came with busi­ness as­so­ciates or group tours.

Thim­phu dzongkhag re­ceived the high­est num­ber of re­gional tourists with 79% of to­tal vis­i­tor ar­rivals. Paro and Pu­nakha re­ceived the next higher pro­por­tions with 66% and 42% re­spec­tively.

Around 83% of them came for leisure travel while the rest came for of­fi­cial, busi­ness or other rea­sons.

More than half the re­gional tourists cited cul­ture and tra­di­tion as pur­pose of visit while 24% cited na­ture and eco­log­i­cal di­ver­sity as the main source of at­trac­tion.

Ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to cul­ture and tra­di­tion like lo­cal fes­ti­vals and sight­see­ing were the ma­jor en­gage­ments for 74% of the re­gional vis­i­tors. Na­ture re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties like trekking, raft­ing, botan­i­cal tours and bird­ing was sec­ond ma­jor en­gage­ment for al­most 16% of the tourists. Al­to­gether, na­ture and cul­ture-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties were the main ac­tiv­i­ties un­der­taken by 90% of them.

On av­er­age, re­gional tourists spent Nu 5,350 be­sides nor­mal ex­pen­di­ture cov­ered by the pack­age tours. Ma­jor out-of-pocket spend­ing was on food, trans­port, ac­com­mo­da­tion and shop­ping.

The use of trans­porta­tion pro­vided by the travel agent was high­est with 46% while use of taxis was close to 23% and rent­ing a car ac­counted for 18%.

Around 52% stayed in non-star-rated ho­tel while 38% stayed in star-rated ho­tels. Around 7% of them stayed in lodges. Min­i­mal num­bers stayed in home-stays, camps and guest­houses

The ma­jor­ity of re­gional ar­rivals en­tered Bhutan via road en­try points which con­sti­tute 64.9% with Phuentshol­ing be­ing the main en­try point. Another 34.8% of them came via Paro in­ter­na­tional air­port. Though min­i­mal, some also en­tered the coun­try via bor­der towns like Gele­phu and Sam­drup Jongkhar.

Sim­i­lar to en­try points, Phuentshol­ing was the ma­jor exit route for 77% of the re­gional tourists while only 23% of them ex­ited through air trans­port in Paro.

Re­gional tourists com­prise vis­i­tors from In­dia, Bangladesh and Mal­dives.

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