Bhutan looking to attract more Indian touristsMarch 11th, 2011 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Bhutan — a land of exquisite natural beauty where development is guided by Gross National Happiness — is seeking to increase tourist inflow from India through newly-introduced charter flight packages from Delhi and Mumbai.
At a press conference in the capital Friday, Mohit Gupta of makemytrip.com, a travel portal, which has designed the charter packages, said: “We are starting charter flights to Bhutan from May-end until July from Delhi and Mumbai. The idea behind starting charter flight operations is to make this exotic place more accessible to Indians.”
“We are collaborating with the Bhutan government for this. These packages which will be for seven days, will include stay in deluxe hotels, sight seeing and food. The cost will be cheaper than normal reservation,” he added.
From Delhi, the package will cost Rs.33,999 and from Mumbai it will cost Rs.39,999.
Bhutan’s ambassador here Vetsop Namgyel said: “Tourism is an important sector for us and we want it to grow. It’s the second highest income generating sector. We see opportunity of getting high-end tourism from India.”
“Visitors can look forward to seeing great natural beauty, forts and monasteries, traditional houses and crafts and age-old festivals. A good thing is that Indians don’t need visa to enter Bhutan,” he added.
According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, a total 40,873 tourists came to Bhutan in 2010 and of them 12,000 were high-end visitors. Last year, 27,000 Indians travelled to Bhutan, including business travellers.
“The aim is to double the number of tourists from India. However, we have set a target of 100,000 tourists for next year,” said Chhimmy Pem of the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
“We are a small country, with a fragile environment and sensitive culture. We can’t afford mass tourism especially since we have seen the impact of mass tourism on other countries,” she added.
Presently there are flight services from various parts of India, like Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra and Guwahati to Bhutan.
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