Friday, 11 January 2008

Tourist arrival at its record high

The number of tourists visiting the Kingdom has increased over the years. In 2006, 17,344 tourists visited the Kingdom. Last year, the number increased to a little over 21,000. Tourism officials attributed the steady increase in tourist arrivals to the international recognition that Bhutan has received as a top tourist destination and the unprecedented media coverage. The Kingdom has been rated as the number one tourist destination by several leading travel magazines including Wanderlust, a travel magazine based in the United Kingdom and Flight Centre Australia, the largest travel agent in Australia. The majority of the tourists who visit Bhutan come from the United States followed by United Kingdom and Japan. Last year, almost 6,000 US tourists visited the country. There were about 2,200 tourists from the United Kingdom and 2,000 tourists from Japan. Officials from the tourism department said tourism is seasonal in Bhutan. It is also largely confined to western and central regions. The tourism industry generated US$ 44 million last year of which US$ 10 million was paid to the government as royalty.

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