Border closures that lasted two years caused the closure of one of the most exclusive tourist destinations, but luckily Bhutan has been cleared to reopen this month.
On Friday, the Himalayan kingdom between China and India reopens its doors to tourists with specific financial requirements.
The kingdom has ramped up the pre-existing requirements and has already earned its ‘exclusive’ title by requiring visitors to spend at least $250 a day, Travel Noire reported.
That requirement has risen to an additional $200, with the prior amount going towards accommodation, food, transport, and the government’s “sustainable development fee.” The extra $200 daily fee excludes the aforementioned; visitors will still have to pay travel costs.
Bhutan has made several changes, including changes to tours. Packaged tours are no longer a prerequisite. The $200 daily tax is payable separately to meals and stays accommodations. Officials say the changes will help the tiny Buddhist kingdom rebrand as an “exclusive destination” attracting “discerning tourists.”
Travelers visiting the country will see the daily $200 go towards good use. The new funds will aid tree planting, training programs, and developing and maintaining trails. It will also add to the work the government of Bhutan undertook during the pandemic, which included upgrading and cleaning areas of the country roads.
In March 2020, Bhutan shuttered its borders to visitors after its first case of COVID-19 was reported. Bhutan is famous for measuring gross national happiness.
“The Government of Bhutan has re-strategized its ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism policy to ensure the sustainable use of tourism resources and to create an enabling environment for a vibrant, non-discriminatory, inclusive, and high-value tourism industry in Bhutan,” said Jigme Thinley Namgyal, Bhutan’s Consul General to NDTV.