The previous year (2007) recorded a gross earning of about USD 24 million from the tourism industry with 21,094 tourists visiting Bhutan, 21.6% more than 2006, the highest ever.
The number is expected to increase in 2008 with 8,559 tourists already having visited Bhutan by April 2008.
According to records maintained by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, in 2007, the tourism industry earned the highest revenue in October, which brought in more than USD 7 million, and the least was recorded in January, where the amount dropped to USD 480,000.
Of the 21,094 tourists in 2007, 903 were trekkers and 20,191 were cultural tourists.
Among the tour operators, Bhutan Tourism Corporation dominated in terms of number of tourist arrivals. It received 3,137 (75 trekkers and 3,062 cultural) tourists in 2007, followed by Etho Metho Tours and Treks with 1,590.
The luxury division of BTCL, Aman, and Uma together hosted 142 tourists grabbing the 3rd position followed by International Treks and Tours with 1,078 and Yangphel Tours and Adventures with 1,046.
Among the tourists from 73 different countries who visited Bhutan in 2007, Americans topped the list with 5,773. British tourists ranked 2nd with 2,193, followed by 2008 Japanese tourists.
According to a spokesperson from the Tourism Council of Bhutan, certain award or recognition is in plan for tour operators who host the highest number of tourists in a year.
Of the 349 registered tour operators in 2007, only 200 functioned in 2007, compared to 250 in 2006.
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