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Tour operator expecting more tourists this season.

Date : Thu Apr 10 03:13:04 EDT 2014

Spring marks the onset of the tourist season in Bhutan and with it begins preparations.

And unlike in the past, flight booking and shortage of hotels are no longer problem for the tour operators, and the number of hotels catering for tourists has increased over the years, particularly in Thimphu and Paro.

The Association of Bhutanese Tour Operator's executive director Sonam Dorji said that it was still difficult to get booking in the high-end hotels.

Currently, there are 75 tourist standard hotels in the country that are three-star and above. Paro has the highest number of hotels, resorts, and guesthouse (37), followed by Thimphu and Bumthang with 27 and 23 respectively. Construction of 63 tourist hotels is underway.

The five-day Paro tshechu that will begin from April 11 is expected to attract more tourists this year. At any rate, that's what the tour operators are expecting. The Paro tshechu marks the onset of the tourist season in Bhutan.

Thimphu tshechu and Paro tshechu receive most tourists every year.

Yangphel tours and travels' managing director Karma Lotey said tour operators are looking forward to a good season this year.

'There should be an increase in the number of tourists visiting compared with last spring,' he said. However, most tourists prefer to visit Bhutan in autumn.

'However, we need to capitalise more on lean season facilities,' said Karma Lotey.

Most hotels in Paro and Thimphu are already booked with about 70 percent occupancy rate.

Last month, Drukair added about 11 additional flights. country.

Last year, 116,224 international and regional tourists visited Bhutan, an increase of about 10 percent or 10,810 tourists more than the previous year's number.

Of the total arrivals, 44,267 were international or dollar-paying tourists and 8,531 under international business. The rest were regional tourists.

The highest number of tourists that visited Bhutan were the USA 6,927, followed by China 4764, Japan 4015, and Thailand 3494.

The tourism sector is second biggest revenue contributor after hydropower.


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