Bhutan expects more Indian tourists with Mumbai connectivity

Small Himalayan country Bhutan expected increase in tourists with a new flight from India’s commercial hub Mumbai from May 1 this year.

“We expect more Indians travellers to Bhutan with launch of a new flight by Drukair from May one connecting Mumbai and Bhutan,” Damcho Rinzin of the Tourism Council of Bhutan (International Travel, Trade & PR) told PTI.

Out of 1.16 lakh tourists who visited Bhutan in 2013, those from India numbered 50,000.

“India is an important country for us to attract tourists. Mumbai, the gateway for tourists of the western region, faces connectivity hurdle,” Rinzin said.

At the time when Bhutan was focusing on corporate travel (MICE) and wellness travel air-connectivity with Mumbai was expected to give it a boost.

“We are going to introduce twice weekly flight between Paro International airport and Mumbai beginning from May 1, Maharastra day,” Drukair GM commercial Namgay Wangchuk told PTI on the sidelines of a roadshow here last night.

It will be 10th international destination and the three- hour flight will operate twice weekly, on Thursdays and Sundays. Return fare will be around Rs 22,000.

Drukair Manager (Marketing and Commercial Planning) Sonam Wangchuk said the flight will connect Bhutan with western India.

Currently, 15 flights connect Bhutan with Indian cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Bagdogra and Guwahati.

Hotel Taj Tashi GM Sibi Mathew said Taj would expand to Punakha and more hotel brands were lined up to open hotels.

Brands like Hyatt, Starwood and Chiva Som among others were also learnt to have plans for opening or expanding.

source: The Economic Times, 12 Feb 2014

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