The Kingdom of Bhutan has reduced its notoriously high “sustainability” taxes, but its eco-friendly philosophy remains intact. Indeed, the country sets high daily rates to ensure that it never receives more tourists than its population of 700,000 can accommodate.
Where is Bhutan located?
Bhutan is a small landlocked country located in South Asia, between Tibet and India. The topography of the country can be divided into different regions from north to south based on altitude: the Great Himalayas, the Inner Himalayas and the southern foothills.
The small mountainous nation of Bhutan has gone unnoticed by mass tourism for decades
Bhutan is nestled in the mountainous regions of the Eastern Himalayas. It is one of the cleanest countries in the South Asian region. A remote kingdom that still clings to its Buddhist culture but welcomes modernization, Bhutan is a land of beautiful valleys, snow-capped mountain views and lush greenery. Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its ancient monasteries, intricate temples and colorful festivals.
The main tourist centers of Bhutan include the capital Thimphu and the beautiful town of Paro. Apart from this, Bhutan is known for its iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched dramatically on a cliff, and the Punakha Dzong, a majestic fortress with stunning architecture and numerous hiking routes.
Low environmental impact
This is partly because the Himalayan kingdom has a unique philosophy towards visitors. When this isolated country finally opened to tourists in 1974, it adopted a “low environmental impact” policy.
This means there are strict controls on how visitors travel to Bhutan and how many people can visit each year.
Limit the number of foreign visitors to Bhutan?
Although the number of annual visitors to Bhutan was increasing before the pandemic, the country has never welcomed more than 315,000 tourists per year. Compare this to its neighbor Nepal, a country similar in culture and topography, which welcomed over a million tourists in 2019.
But slightly increase the number of tourists
In order to increase the number of visitors, the country is now reducing these costs (from $200 to $100 per person per day). Tourists paying the daily rate for four days are now allowed to stay for an additional four days for free. And those who pay 12 days of fees are allowed to stay for a full month.
The new rules came into force until the end of 2024.
Do not forget that a visa is required to enter Bhutan.