Chi­nese tourists dom­i­nate Bhutan’s tourism mar­ket

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

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.

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