Latest yearly tourism figures for Bhutan show a significant increase in the number of UK visitors to the country in 2011 compared to those of 2010.
37,481 international visitors entered Bhutan in 2011 representing a 38% increase from the 27,196 in 2010. Of those 2,795 were British compared to1,772 from the previous year – an increase of 1,023.
COMO Hotels and Resorts, which owns Uma Paro, the first luxury hotel to open in the country in 2004, also saw an increase in UK and international visitors with many staying at the property for a longer length of time than before. Of the back of this increased demand, COMO will be opening a sister lodge, Uma Punakha in September 2012, to enable guests to enjoy greater cultural and physical adventure within the country. The hotel is situated on a hillside in the lush Punakha Valley, a five-hour drive from Paro. The intimate, 11-room lodge will offer the option of a two-centre stay with COMO and provide even more reasons to explore the beautiful centre and east of the country
Much of the growth in tourism to Bhutan can be attributed to the attractiveness of the country for adventure and culture including trekking, mountain biking, archery, yoga and even spa. One tour operator which has been sending more UK travellers to Bhutan is Ampersand Travel. Its founder James Jayasundera said:
“The combination of better quality hotels and more exciting possibilities for adventure has led to this increase in numbers. Bhutan is becoming more accessible yet retains its air of mystery and strong cultural heritage which has always been very attractive to Ampersand customers”.