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Bhutan a safe tourist destination: TCB survey

Nine out of every 10 international tourists, almost, have voted Bhutan as a safe tourist destination, according to Tourism Council of Bhutan’s (TCB) exit survey 2017.

Similarly, about 91 percent of the regional tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives said Bhutan was a safe tourist destination.

About 1,428 international visitors were surveyed at the Paro International Airport using administered questionnaire survey. A small number of international tourists were interviewed at exit points of Phuentsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, and Gelephu.

A total of 1,534 regional visitors were surveyed at all exit points.

For the international visitors, in terms of tourist satisfaction, value for money stands the highest meaning tourists expect the equal return for the money they paid for their visit. “This is, however, a subjective evaluation on the part of the tourists,” the survey states.

The survey found that more than 60 percent of the international tourists responded that the minimum daily tariff rate is worth the whole visit, while 7.8 percent said they were not satisfied.

The second top attribute was accessibility to services, followed by transport system, according to the survey.

Guide services, accessibility to services and accommodation were the three most important attributes contributing to the satisfaction of regional tourists.

While 89.8 percent of the international tourist responded that Bhutan had a unique destination image in the region, only about 68.5 percent of the regional visitors felt the same.

According to the survey, 74.9 and 81.7 percent of international and regional visitors respectively expressed that Bhutan offers wide range of visitors’ products or services. About 62.8 percent of the international visitors stated that Bhutan offers affordable travel destination, while 80.7 percent of the regional visitors stated the same.

More than 80 percent of the visitors responded that Bhutan’s pristine environment, its people and culture were tourist attraction and Bhutan was known for its Gross National Happiness philosophy.

In terms of the visitor’s satisfaction with the facilities and services available, more than 60 percent of the international visitors said the local transport, accommodation provided to them and food and beverages served were worth the payment they made. About less than 10 percent said the three services were not worth the value of their payment.

Similarly, majority of the regional tourist said they were happy with these services.

More than half of the international and regional visitors were satisfied with access to services like banking system and communication facilities.

About 52.4 percent said they were satisfied with the toilet facilities while 16.7 percent said they were not satisfied and 4.5 percent said they were not at all satisfied. About 13 percent of the regional tourists said they were not satisfied with the toilet facilities in the country while 63.9 percent said they were satisfied.

Majority (80.4 percent) of the international visitors expressed culture and traditional charm in Bhutan attracted them to Bhutan. For regional tourist, besides culture and tradition (41.2 percent) of Bhutan, natural and ecological factor (33.8 percent) inspired them to visit the country.

About 91 percent of the international tourists responded that they visited Bhutan for the first time as against nine percent who visited more than once, according to the survey. About 8.4 percent of the regional tourists have visited the country for the first time while 48.9 percent responded that they were visiting the country for the second time.

According to the survey, more than 80 percent of the visitors have found the guides professional and of good quality while about 4.6 percent were not satisfied with the service quality of guides.

“Guide services is perceived as one of the key factors responsible for tourist loyalty,” it states.

The exit survey shows that about 91 percent of the international visitors had intention to revisit Bhutan and about 85 percent of them want to recommend Bhutan to others. More than 80 percent of the regional tourist intend to revisit the country and would recommend Bhutan to others.

In terms of travel arrangement and travel part composition, the survey found that more than 70 percent of the international and regional arrivals had come through travel agents. The rest travelled independently, through arrangement by counterpart government and corporations especially those who had visited Bhutan for business and official purposes.

Only about 40 percent of the international arrivals stated that the tourist hotspots had disable-friendly service while 71.5 percent of the regional visitors stated the same.

Dechen Tshomo

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