Tourist arrivals to Bhutan up by 21.5 per cent

The international tourist arrivals recorded a growth of 14.1 per cent last year in Bhutan whereas the number of regional tourists visiting the country in terms of percentage saw a dip by more than 50 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year.

A total of 183, 287 regional visitors visited Bhutan in 2017, recording an increase of 24.9 per cent as compared to 2016, which saw a total of 146,797 visitors. The percentage increase of regional tourist decreased in 2017 by more than 50 per cent. Bhutan saw an increase of 50.43 per cent in 2016 compared to 24.9 per cent in 2017.

With 254,704 tourists visiting the country in 2017, including 183,287 regional tourists, the overall growth is 21.5 per cent compared to 2016. A total of 209,570 tourists visited the country in 2016.

In the last five years, Bhutan saw the highest growth in 2016 with 35 per cent increase in total number of visitors. Of the total 71,417 international arrivals, 62,272 were international leisure arrivals. India remained the main market in 2017 making up 51.14 per cent of the total leisure visitors followed by Bangladesh, Unites States, China and South Korea making up the other top five markets.

The number of Chinese visitors fell by 30.3 per cent compared to the previous year, dropping to the fourth position from the second top ten source markets for Bhutan in 2016. Visitors from South Korea increased by 484.3 per cent, making it into the top five from the 17th place in 2016. Bhutan received a total of 6,048 visitors from South Korea in 2017 compared to 1,035 in 2016. Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, Germany and Malaysia together made up the top 10 markets.

Gross earnings from tourism reached USD 79.807M in 2017, which is an increase of 8.2 per cent from 2016.