Bhutan sees record number of tourists in 2011
Royal wedding fever led to tourism increases in 2011, but not just in the U.K. The Kingdom of Bhutan recorded a an almost 57 percent increase — the highest in the history of the remote Himalayan country — which can be partly attributed to the nuptials between King Jigme Khesar and commoner Jetsun Pema.
“The large influx of tourists in October could be highly attributed to one of Bhutan’s biggest events as the country celebrated the Royal Wedding of the King and Queen. Many friends of Bhutan came from all over the world to be part of the grand celebration,” the report states.
While the increase is substantial, the isolated country still only had 64,028 tourists in 2011. Bhutan has a unique and long-standing system that requires visitors to spend at least $250 a day, which keeps the impact from tourism low and earning from it high. However, there is no limit to the number of tourists that can visit the country.
“Exclusivity and uniqueness is our biggest selling point,” says Lotay Rinchen from Bridge to Bhutan, one of the many companies that offers tours of the country. “Other places have become too touristy. We are authentic.”
The report says most tourists visited Bhutan to see the country’s age-old living culture, colourful festivals and ways of life. Most of the visitors (77.09 percent) rated culture as the main reason for their visit, followed by 18.74 percent who said they came for nature-based activities.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more about Bhutan and its people and customs. Join us on the journey to the “Land of the Thunder Dragon.”