Bhutanese authorities reduce the daily fee charged to tourists

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As part of measures aimed at attracting more visitors and speeding up the recovery of the tourism sector after the Covid-19 pandemic, Bhutanese authorities have decided to reduce the daily fee charged to tourists by 100 dollars. It is officially announced that these funds will be used to offset the carbon dioxide emissions produced by travelers. At the same time, the "Sustainability Fee" was increased to $200 per day from $65 after the Covid-19-related restrictions were lifted last September. This is the information. The Bhutanese government confirmed that the new rate of $100 per day will come into effect in September and will be valid for four years.

" This is in view of the important role of the tourism sector in generating employment, earning foreign exchange … and in boosting overall economic growth," Bhutanese government officials said.

" We expect about 100,000 travelers in 2024, of which the bulk is from India. We should be able to come back to 2019-2020 levels by 2025," said the director general of Bhutan's tourism department, Dorji Dhradhul, in an interview. The government estimates that it will take about three years to restore tourism to pre-pandemic levels, which means attracting 300,000 tourists per year. Until 2019-2020, the tourism industry's share of Bhutan's gross domestic product was nearly five percent. " In a way, we started from ground zero last year…In 2019, we received 315,000 tourists on the back of 50 years of tourism," he said.

The Bhutanese government has simplified rules on length of stay and fees for tourists, but the expected increase in tourist numbers has not happened.

In addition, Dhradhul noted that more than 56,000 tourists have visited Bhutan since the beginning of January, but nearly 42,000 of them are Indian nationals who require only 1,200 Indian rupees (US$14.5) per day. About 50,000 Bhutanese are employed in the tourism industry and in the three years before the pandemic, they earned about $84 million a year in foreign currency. However, Bhutanese authorities have faced limited access to international flights and mostly operate their own airline.

The director general of Bhutan's Tourism Department said it could take some time for the industry to recover after the tourism sector was closed for much of those 2.5 years and domestic travel was restricted.

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