Who was the 1st Tourist in Bhutan?
The first group of tourists to visit Bhutan arrived in Phuntsholing on October 3,1974 for a seven day stay in the country. They were welcomed by the Director of Tourism, Dasho Tseten Dorji at the Phuntsholing gate who presented a scarf to the leader of the group Mr. Lars Eric Lindblad. After completing the visa and customs formalities, they left for Kharbandi Hotel where they stayed for the night.
The tourists were earlier received by the Bhutanese tourist guides at Bagdogra airport and served lunch at the airport restaurant. They drove to Phuntsholing in two Toyota Mini-buses.
The Swedish visionary entrepreneur, Lars-Eric Lindblad, represented Bhutan from a corner of his New York office draped in prayer flags and woven cloth, and first advised His then-Majesty on the ‘high value, low volume’ model of tourism.
There were 14 tourists in the group out of which 8 were American nationals, 5 Spanish and 1 Argentinian.