After being closed to international tourists for two and a half years during the Covid pandemic, today Bhutan has reopened its borders.
The reopening has come with a revised tourism levy, known as the Sustainable Development Fee.
Bhutan has increased its Sustainability Fee to $200 per visitor per night from the $65 it has charged foreign tourists for the past three decades.
Indians were not charged anything before the pandemic started, but the rules state that they have to pay a sum of Rs 1200. However, the revised fee for Indian tourists was never implemented.
In March 2020, Bhutan closed its borders to visitors – a major source of income – after detecting its first case of COVID-19.
The Himalayan kingdom of less than 800,000 people has reported more than 61,000 infections and just 21 deaths, but its economy has taken a hit over the past two years, sending poverty soaring.
“The Government of Bhutan has re-established its ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism policy strategy to ensure the sustainable use of tourism resources and create an enabling environment for a vibrant, non-discriminatory tourism industry. treatment, inclusion and high values in Bhutan,” Jigme Thinley Namgyal, Consul General of Bhutan told NDTV.
Bhutan, located between India and China and known for its measure of gross national happiness, hopes to welcome more tourists who can spend a lot of money.
“Tourism is a national asset and we’re also trying to stay carbon-neutral – that has its own costs. We’re developing the infrastructure to make tourism sustainable. This is why the very reason why we apply this tax”, added the Consul General.