Bhutan reopens its borders with sustainable tourism strategy

Published : 24 Sep 2022 09:45 PM

Bhutan has opened its doors again to foreign tourists after almost 2.5 years of restriction. The Tourism Council of the country has announced that foreign nationals will be able to visit Bhutan from September 23. 

Royal Bhutanese embassy in Dhaka Head of Chancery and second secretary Sherab Dorji in a programme held at a city hotel on Friday night has made the announcement of the Tourism Reopening of Bhutan. Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry secretary Md. Mokammel Hossain was present as the chief guest. 

On this occasion, Prime Minister Lotte Tshering also launched a new brand called ‘Brand Bhutan’ at a special event in the capital Thimphu on Thursday. 

 Head of Chancery and second secretary Sherab Dorji said, “Bhutan has visa-on-arrival facility for only two countries in the world—and those two countries are Bangladesh and Maldives. As a result, Bangladeshi citizens can collect the visa at Phuntshaling at Bhutan’s road entry point or Paro airport, or they can also apply online in advance.”  

And Indian citizens do not need a visa to go to Bhutan, but a special ‘permit’ is required.

But Bhutan has increased their ‘Sustainable Development Fee’ (SDF) a lot. From now on, as long as foreign tourists stay in Bhutan, they will have to pay SDF of USD 200 per person per day. That is, a couple will have to spend USD 2800 extra money due to this fee even if they are going to visit Bhutan for just one week. Earlier this fee was only USD 65 per head per day.

Sherab Dorji said that Bhutan’s policy is that they are not in favor of ‘Mass Tourism’. Bhutan is now moving towards the goal of substituting foreign tourists for fewer tourists who will spend more.    

Tourism in Bhutan has become very expensive, but the government is assuring - in return, tourists will get a taste of ‘Quality Tourism’. All those associated with the tourism sector, such as hotel or guest-house traders, car drivers, tour guides, are trained and brought under very strict ‘Certification’ so that they can provide the best experience to foreigners, added Sherab Dorji.