The government of Bhutan decided to reopen tourism in Bhutan. It is Good news for tourists intending to visit Bhutan, which is known as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. The Himalayan kingdom is looking to revive its economy and will begin to welcome international travelers from September of this year. According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), tourists will be able to visit the country with a renewed focus on sustainability.
Bhutan is now coming up with a new set of more structured strategies encouraged by the strike of Covid 19 which will aim at improving the service quality with customer satisfaction as the core concern. With the new tourism policy, Bhutan will make your travel more worthwhile.
So, let’s dive in-depth into Bhutan’s new tourism policy.
Bhutan Reopening With Renewed Focus On Sustainability
With Bhutan’s decision to reopen borders to tourists, it will be inclined toward a renewed focus on sustainability. Therefore, the tourism sector will undergo a major revamp, focusing on three key areas which include services and infrastructure, travel experiences of tourists, and the sector’s impact on the environment.
One of the changes includes the revised standards for service providers such as hotels, guides, tour operators, and any individuals responsible for dealing with tourists to be subject to robust certification before they can engage tourists. Moreover, the employees in the tourism sector will need to undergo necessary skills and reskilling programs in order to improve the quality of services.
Bhutan Increases Daily Tourist Tax
As part of the renewed focus on sustainability, Bhutan will be raising the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) from USD 65 per person per night to USD 200 which will directly go towards the activities to encourage carbon neutral tourism and build a more sustainable tourism sector.
For over 30 years, tourists were required to pay $65 and this has now increased to USD 200. Bhutan’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism after hydropower, which accounts for 6% of its GDP. According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, 3,16,000 people have visited Bhutan in 2019 bringing in USD 225 million for the sector.
When it comes to meeting tourist requirements while preserving the Bhutanese culture, values, and environment, “High Value, Low Volume” tourism is at the core of the new plan for the overhaul of the tourism industry.
The population in the tourism industry will be given access to more advanced skills, knowledge, and experiences as a result of these changes, which are primarily focused on strengthening the human capital of Bhutan. At the same time, the Minimum Daily Package Rate (MDPR) will be removed which will now allow tourists the flexibility to engage directly with service providers and pay for their services accordingly.
Bhutan Tourism & Covid 19
If you have ever wondered about what the current situation in Bhutan today is? Well, Bhutan experienced a total of 21 fatalities from COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. Bhutan kept its covid numbers low by upholding a rigorous zero-covid policy. When the omicron form debuted in March 2022, this situation changed. Bhutan then made the decision to move forward with the “live with the disease” strategy and is progressively easing travel restrictions and other measures.
So, is it possible to visit Bhutan now? The answer is yes, you can. The quarantine will be lifted starting on September 23, 2022. Upon arrival, test samples will be collected and tourists will need to produce a certificate of vaccination, and also need to follow a mandatory quarantine for 24 hours until an RT-PCR negative result is declared.
Bhutan For Meaningful Experiences
Bhutan is the world’s most popular green travel destination. High mountains and wide, deep valleys are what makes Bhutan famous. In 2018, it received the “Earth Award.” The top 100 sustainable travel locations were ranked, and Bhutan was chosen as the winner.
Bhutan has a distinctive approach to development. It measures societal progress by the level of happiness among its citizens. The term “Gross National Happiness” which was first used by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king of Bhutan focuses on a multidimensional development approach to achieve a balance between the spiritual, emotional, cultural, and material needs of the society. To this day, GDP still comes in second.
Despite a slight shift in tourism policy, Bhutan still remains one of the best destinations to visit on the planet. Become a part of Bhutan’s renewed sustainable tourism and contact Druk Heritage Experience today to experience the tiny kingdom like never before!