Bhutan Reopens for tourism after Covid with a 3x tourist fees.
Bhutan has decided to re-open its borders for tourists for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020.
Bhutan is a tiny Buddhist kingdom on the eastern edge of the Himalayas, and is also referred to as “the last Shangri-La” because of its abundant natural beauty, sustainable development and rich cultural heritage. Tourism contributes a lot to Bhutan’s economy and makes up 6% of the nation’s GDP. As per the Tourism Council of Bhutan, in 2019, 315,599 tourists had visited Bhutan, which added USD $225 million to the tourism industry in Bhutan.
Bhutan immediately banned its border for other nations for tourism as soon as it received its first covid case but now as the country has vaccinated 90% of its population it has decided to re-open its borders for tourists for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020 –with which the country will welcome International tourism from 23 September 2022.
Also Read: Bhutan’s Favorite Booze
However, Bhutan now has decided to increase the sustainable development fees [which is the main reason for the triple tax] – mandatory to enter the country – from previous $65 per night, per person to $200. For almost 30 years (since 1991), tourists were required to pay $65 (nearly INR 5196), but the amount has been increased now. The increased (tripled) tax will go towards offsetting tourists’ carbon footprint and upgrading workers’ skills in the tourism sector. For Indians, the Sustainable Development Fees will remain the same at 1,200 Bhutanese ngultrum as of now but the stipulated fee will be revised at a later date. So, keep a check on the government website before you plan your trip.
“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, Tourism Control of Bhutan chair, and the country’s foreign minister said in a statement.
The Minimum Daily Package Rate will also be removed.
What is Minimum daily package rate (MDPR)?
The minimum daily package is a package for the tourist which covers a minimum of 3-star accommodation, all meals, a licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay, all internal transport excluding flights, camping equipment, all internal taxes and charges, and a sustainable development fee.
WHERE WILL THE FEES GO
As the tax has increased for the sustainable development of the country. The fees will go towards activities that promote carbon-neutral tourism and building a more sustainable tourism sector.
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Ankit raj sharma