Bhutan Tourism started in Bhutan in the year 1974 with an effort to raise revenue and to promote the Bhutanese unique culture and traditions. The same year Bhutan Tourist figure was 287. After that Bhutan tourist visiting Bhutan has increased to 2,850 in 1992, rising dramatically to 7,158 in 1999. In the year total of 64,028 high-end tourists visited Bhutan. The figure includes 16,418 regional high ends and 1,728 regional tourists who made tour by land but stayed in more than three star hotels. Bhutan also had 36,805 regional tourists who entered the Kingdom by land and did not stay in three star hotels and above. Bhutan Tourism Council said this is the highest recorded number of Bhutan tourist arrival in the country with a growth of 56.65 percent from 2010. The year 2011 is a milestone for the Tourism industry. With record arrivals, it also marks one of the highest growth rates in the history of our tourism industry. Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Thinley has outlined an expansion plan for tourism industry setting a target of 100,000 tourists by 2012. He said “We want to expand this sector without compromising on our policy of high quality, low impact and not volume tourism,”. Tourism sector is open to foreigners, the government is acutely aware of the environmental impact Bhutan tourists can have on country’s unique and virtually pristine landscape and culture. Until 1991, the Bhutan Tourism Corporation (BTC), a quasi-autonomous and self-financing body, implemented the government’s tourism policy. Bhutan Government had privatized the Corporation in October 1991, facilitating private sector investment and activity. As a result, today the figure comes to 1100 licensed travel agents operate in the country.
Bhutan Tourist figure out country wise maximum visitors are from USA and UK dominated the bed nights with 18.16% and 8.87% respectively. Paro (31.88%) and Thimphu (23.71%) Dzongkhags dominated the bed nights share. The months of October and November received maximum as per the latest figure outline by Tourism Council of Bhutan.
Bhutan Tourist Earnings (in $us million)
In 2011, the tourism Industry receipts from international Bhutan Tourist (Dollar paying) alone generated USD 47.68 million as direct gross earnings, out of which USD 14.89 million was generated as direct revenue for the Government through the “Royalty” (US $65 levy on daily tariff) only. Other taxes such as the Business Income Tax (BIT) and Sales Taxes paid by tourism service providers also translate into government revenue, therefore increasing revenue generated by the tourism industry. Gross earnings increased by an unprecedented +32.52% compared to 2010, which marks the biggest increase rate in the last 10 years.