Bhutan sees record tourist arrival in year 2010Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
Thimphu: Bhutan recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals in the country in 2010. 40,873 high-end tourists visited the country, far exceeding the target of bringing in 35,000 tourists.
Bhutan received a record number of 28,463 international tourists out of which 27,196 (16 percent more than 2009) visited the country for leisure purposes and 1,267 for business purposes that included meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.
From the regional market, 12,410 tourists visited the country. 6,610 arrived for leisure and 5,800 for business.
Out of the total, 28,500 came through travel agents and the rest through other arrangements.
Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) says that, in keeping with the government policy of considering only high-end tourists, it excluded the regional leisure tourists entering Bhutan by road in the total number.
It says the high number of tourist arrivals demonstrates the impact of tourism initiatives including marketing, promotion and enhancement of services.
The tourist arrivals contributed to the generation of 2,600 more jobs in 2010 taking the total estimated employment figure in the sector to more than 17,800.
In addition to direct employment, the tourism sector generates indirect employment that includes other services to the sector such as restaurants, taxi drivers and businesses. Between 10,320 and 12,120 indirect jobs have been generated in the sector so far.
To further encourage the arrival of tourists in the country, tourist processes have been simplified through online visa processing, waiver of special permits for certain heritage sites, online ticket booking and the launch of credit card facilities in the country.
Merak, Sakteng and Manas were opened for tourists to further spread the benefits of tourism