Addressing Some Challenges As Bhutan Prepares For Rise In Tourist Arrivals


The gross receipt from tourism is expected to increase from Nu 10.6 billion in 2018 to about Nu 39.16 billion in the next five years.

Mask Dance performed at a tshechu (festival) in Bhutan. (Source: Druk Asia)


By Staff Reporter Kuensel

At a time when the government is making serious effort to take tourism to the top, reports tell us that certain areas ought to be improved first if tourism is to be the biggest contributor to Bhutan’s economy.

Tourism Council of Bhutan’s (TCB) exit survey 2018 found that banking services, communications and toilet facilities in the country are some of the areas where development is necessary.

Areas which needs improvement

More than 20 percent of the tourists said that the banking system, including exchange, point of sale, and ATM services should be enhanced. 

And likewise, 15 percent of the visitors from abroad said that the communication facilities, including Internet and telephone services in Bhutan could be improved. 

International Visitor Exit Survey 2018

Source: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2018


Another issue which needs to be addressed is the toilet facilities in the country, for the benefit of both locals and foreign visitors.

According to the Bhutan Tourism Monitor, 274,097 tourists visited Bhutan last year. This represents a 7.61 percent increase compared with that of 2017.

Source: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2018


In the same year, the country’s second biggest revenue contributor saw its earning go up by USD 5.6 million compared with that of the previous year.

TCB has already selected Lhuentse, Zhemgang, Dagana, Gasa, and Samtse as priority dzongkhags (districts) to develop tourism in the country.

Tourism industry in Bhutan set to grow in the next five years

The gross receipt from tourism is expected to increase from Nu 10.6 billion in 2018 to about Nu 39.16 billion in the next five years. 

Similarly, direct revenue contribution is expected to cross Nu 5.48B, about Nu 3.91 more than in 2018. What this means is that Bhutan should be prepared for arrival growth.

Source: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2018


Given that more than 80 percent of the respondents said that they were satisfied with the facilities and services during their visit to Bhutan, the challenges are not all too big to handle.

However, the danger is that if we fail to improve basic services for the visitors, value for money will take the hardest beating. And that will not be good for the future of tourism development in the country.

Therefore, besides product development, we must also focus on the development of services in Bhutan. They are both equally important.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


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