Bhutan Lowers

When the COVID pandemic hit the small scenic nation of Bhutan, the number of tourists fell dramatically. They did not rise once borders opened as well, owing to the fact that the government of Bhutan decided to raise its ‘Sustainable Development Fee’ from $65 to $200. The few, which was originally in place to deter budget tourists who spoiled and polluted the natural environment of Bhutan, ended up being harmful to it’s tourism industry as a whole.

Now, in an attempt to fix this,

Bhutan is lowering the nightly fees charged to tourists who stay for more than four days from this month to the end of 2024. Visitors paying the daily fees for four days will be allowed to remain for another four days, while those who pay SDF for 12 says will be allowed to stay for a month. However, this only applies to those who pay in dollars, not rupees like the many tourist who visit from the neighbouring state of India.

Dorji Dhradhul, director general of the Department of Tourism, says:

“If more tourists stay longer in Bhutan, tourism can help our economy to grow faster.”

The goal, he said, was to raise the contribution of tourism to the economy which is currently worth $3 billion from 5% to 20%. The mission was well underway, with Bhutan receiving about 315,600 visitors in 2019, before the pandemic hit. After, the number fell. This year, more than 47000 tourists have visited, and Bhutan hopes the number will reach the goal of 86,000 by the end of the year.

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