Categories: What You Need To Know

Bhutan Gears Up To Reopen Borders To International Tourists From September, But With Triple Tourist Fee

For the first time since the pandemic began over two years ago, Bhutan has stated that it will reopen its borders to international travellers from September 23, without any restrictions. The Himalayan kingdom has also revamped its travel sector, focusing further on carbon-neutral tourism. Here’s everything you need to know. By Eshita Srinivas

The Land of The Thunder Dragon – Bhutan – is known for its breathtaking landscape, eclectic local cuisine, and thriving Buddhist culture. Every year, thousands head to the quaint mountainous region for a taste of what it has to offer, making tourism a major source of income for locals.

However, to limit the number of infections during the pandemic, Bhutan took drastic early steps and banned the inflow of tourists in March 2020. Later, it eased restrictions only to establish a mandatory 15-day quarantine. However, a recent release from its tourism department has stated that the country was set to reopen its borders without restrictions come September 23.

Bhutan’s new tourism policy involves a focus on sustainability

The reopening has come with a new tourism levy policy, which states that any international tourist visiting would have to pay a sustainable development fee of USD 200 (INR 15,817 approx.) per day. Earlier, this was set at USD 65 (INR 5,140).

The increased fee, CNN reports, will go towards reducing tourists’ carbon impact. “COVID-19 has allowed us to reset — to rethink how the sector can be best structured and operated… while keeping carbon footprints low,” Tandi Dorji, chairman of the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the country’s foreign minister, was quoted saying. Besides this, authorities have a new set of instructions for hotels, guides, tour operators, and drivers. Each will now have to go through a robust certification process as well as skilling programmes to boost service quality.

Dorji Dhradhul, Director General, Tourism Council of Bhutan was quoted in a news report by Sentinel Assam as stating, “Our strategy for the revamp of the tourism sector brings us back to our roots, of ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism, where we meet the needs of tourists while protecting our people, culture, values, and environment. Tourism is a strategic and valuable national asset, one that does not only impact those working in the sector but all Bhutanese. Ensuring its sustainability is vital to safeguarding future generations.”

Additionally, Bhutan has dropped its Minimum Daily Package Rate (MDPR) for tourists. The fee would go towards accommodation, meals, and transfers and include the sustainability charges. This was capped at USD 250 (INR 19,768 approx.) during peak seasons and USD 200 (INR 15,814 approx. ) during off months.The system itself mandated tourists to apply to operators approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. Now, however, travellers have more flexibility to choose their service providers, Telegraph India reports.

All images: Tourism Council Of Bhutan

Related: Kerala’s Malabar River Festival Returns With A Splash For Its 8th Edition

Eshita Srinivas

Recent Posts

New Restaurants In Mumbai And Goa To Add A Different Flavour To Your Dining Experience

Dining experiences are always made better with the launch of new spots that open up…


Where To Eat, Stay And What To See In Ipoh, The Other Famous Food Capital Of Malaysia

Ipoh, the capital of Perak, is a city of limestone hills and hot springs. Most…


These Bullet Trains In Asia Must Be On Every Traveller’s Radar

Whether we like it or not technology has changed the way our lives function. Asia…


Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham Property Is Set To Become A ‘Destination Pub’ And You Could Be The One Running It

If you've been dreaming of a career change, this ad just might be for you!…


9 Reasons To Visit Phrom Phong In Bangkok On Your Next Visit

This guide aims to help you get started towards exploring a wonder around Bangkok -…


By Air, By Road, By Train: A Complete Travel Guide To Gwalior

If you are looking for a heritage trip, look no further than Gwalior. This historical…