Indian Election halts regional tourist visits

There has been a decrease in the number of regional tourist arrivals this year, especially Indian tourists pertaining to the elections in India.

This year, the regional leisure arrivals saw an increase of 33.21% in January followed by 9.13% in February. But, there was a decline of 39.52% in March and 3.07% in April. “A trend in increased visitors arrivals during low tourist season is a welcome trend,” the press release from Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) states.

The spokesperson of TCB, Damcho Rinzin, hopes that tourist visits from India would be better after the elections in India. “As the Mumbai flight is started, the TCB is targeting to promote in and around these areas, we see this great potential,” he added.

Not only was there a decline in the regional tourist numbers, but there was also a decline in international visitors coming into the country for official, business, and other segments. Thereby, the total visitor arrival decreased by 4.23% compared to the first four months of 2013, but saw an increase of 6.29% in leisure international arrivals (who pay the minimum daily package rate).

According to TCB’s first four months comparison between this year and last year, the numbers of international visitors was recorded at 16,732 whereby last year it was recorded at 16,730. Out of the total arrivals, the leisure tourist was at 15,102 this year and 14,209 last year. Those visitors who made visits for business/official/ others accounted to only 1,630 this year and the same was recorded at 2,521 last year.

The numbers of the regional visitors from India, the Maldives and Bangladesh saw a decline to 14,115 this year as compared to 15,480 last year. The leisure tourist accounted for 9,967 last year and 9,400 this year. The tourist visits for official/ business and others accounted to 4,715 this year and it was recorded at 5,513 last year.

According to the TCB spokesperson, Rinzin, the 13 dzongkhags in the country saw an increase in tourism business, while six dzongkhag saw a decline in the visitor bed nights of the 19 dzongkhags open for tourism.

In the eastern dzongkhag, except for Trashiyangtse, all saw a good increase in the bed nights. This year, in the first four months, Pemagatshel saw an increase of 64.71% in bed nights and Trashigang, an increase of 16.04%. While, Sarpang received 211 bednights more while Dagana received six new bed nights.

Meanwhile, TCB is exploring the new potential markets in countries in Latin American as many people there are interested to study and learn Buddhism. There are marketing scopes being explored in Russia, Australia and Malaysia.

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