40,665 tourists have visited Bhutan from September 23, 2022 to April 15, 2023

A total of 40,665 tourists have arrived in Bhutan from 23rd September 2022 until 15th April 2023. Out of this figure, 23,944 are Indian guests who have paid Nu. 1,200 per person, per night, while 16,721 are other international guests paying USD 200 per person, per night. Out of the 16,721, 8,945 guests have paid the old SDF rate of USD 65, while 7,776 have paid the new SDF rate of USD 200. The Department of Immigration has confirmed that this arrival data does not include those visitors who have come as official guests, or for meetings, conferences and exhibitions, or those invited by government agencies.

A total of 7,385 tourists arrived in the month of March 2023 which is slightly less than the number of arrivals in October,2022 the strongest month so far with 8,313 arrivals. From April 1 – 15,  7,072 guests have arrived in Bhutan.

Moreover, in the months of January, February and March 2023, more international guests came paying the new SDF rate as compared to the old rate. In January, 253 guests paid the old SDF, and 468 paid the new SDF; in February, 185 paid the old SDF while 574 paid the new SDF; and in March, 1,059 paid the old SDF and 1,689 paid the new SDF. 

From September 23, 2022 till April 15, 2023, Bhutan’s top ten source markets were India (23,944), America (4,216), Malaysia (1,843), the UK (1,288), Vietnam (922), Singapore (856), Germany (793), Australia (524), Canada (522), and France (503). 

“The numbers are looking encouraging and gradually picking up. Beginning this year, we have seen more tourists come in paying the new SDF rate as compared to the old rate. The Department of Tourism will continue our efforts to facilitate more positive global coverage on Bhutan and generate more tourist arrivals,” said Dorji Dhradhul, the Director General of the Department of Tourism.

“We also continue to work closely with tourism partners to create new, unique and creative products and itineraries and improve the guest experience. In particular, we know that an area of concern is the washroom amenities. Currently, there are several models of management in operation for the washrooms around the country. Four washrooms are managed by DoT directly, and we have also recently outsourced two restrooms on the Phajoding trail to a private organisation, but the majority are managed by the dzongkhags themselves. We know that many of these washrooms are not well maintained due to various reasons, and do not live up to the high expectations of the guests visiting our country. We are committed to working in partnership with the dzongkhags to find urgent solutions as we know that the current standards are not good enough,” he concluded.

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  1. The tourists coming in paying the new US$200 per day will decrease as time passes and those who qualified for the US$65 rate run out: and the tourist industry, and therefore the Bhutan economy, will suffer.Maybe in the now is alright … but in the future … The US$200 per day rate is not sustainable.

  2. Michael E Georgi

    I strongly urge that SDF concessions be made for large groups staying for extended time. I have brought 20+ high school students from Hawaii USA three times (2016, 2017, 2019) for three weeks of community service visits to include tree planting, trail maintenance, stupa whitewashing, trash pick-up, and making donations of goods and money at monasteries and an orphanage. With the new elevated SDF I will bring fewer students in 2023 and the program is in jeopardy in the coming years.

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