Bhutan targets Indian tourists

Bhutan targets Indian tourists

The small, landlocked country of Bhutan has long relied on Western countries for tourism. It now wants to turn to India for its purpose of attracting the Indian people to the kingdom of happiness.

Despite Bhutan’s average annual growth rate of 27% in recent years, it still relies heavily on a handful of countries. Of the approximately 28,000 annual tourist arrivals, typically 20% are from the US, 13% from Japan and 8% from the UK. Japanese tourists may stop coming for obvious reasons, but Americans and British should continue to make a huge contribution to Bhutan tourism.

Bhutan has long been proud of its Gross National Happiness and has an international reputation for happiness and peace. In fact, the vast majority of the population of this small country practice Buddhism. The challenge now for the people of Bhutan is to promote tourism without compromising this reputationIn other words, we shouldn’t expect to see gigantic hotels popping up in forests or destroying natural elements to make way for capitalist interests. However, if 100,000 tourists are to arrive in Bhutan by 2020, certain steps need to be taken.

Focus on Indian tourists India’s population is approaching 1.2 billion; they seem like a reasonable target. India is also one of the fastest growing countries in the world, with its outbound tourists spending more and more time and money elsewhere. The fact that Indians were able to reach Bhutan overland was seen as an advantage due to its proximity to eastern India.

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