Bhutan fees are now very expensive. Will you still go?

Open to visitors on September 23, 2022, Bhutan has now radically changed its daily fare structure

We always knew it was worth paying a little to ensure Bhutan remains the wonderful destination that it is. A daily charge of between $200 and $250 (Rs 16,000 to Rs 20,000), depending on the season you traveled in, seemed – to savvy and aware travelers – a reasonable price to pay for an all-inclusive package in what many consider Shangri-La to be down to earth, and logical in the country’s low-impact, high-value tourism model.

Now there are drastic changes in perspective. Visitors can expect to pay a daily sustainability fee of $200 (Rs 16,000)
more additional costs for accommodation, transportation, food and anything that was part of the previous package. All of this makes traveling to Bhutan very expensive, the only advantage being that you no longer have to join a tour package as was previously mandatory.

Bhutan - Tiger's Nest

Yet the previous daily rate offered accommodation, meals, transportation, entry to museums, shrines and monasteries, and included the services of an expert guide. Paying this daily rate allowed visitors to plan an itinerary with a Bhutanese travel agency, which ensured a trip that captured the beauty of the country and mountain views, visits to monasteries, visits to Tiger’s Nest (above)wildlife viewing and local experiences such as archery tournaments and immersions in Bhutanese specialties such as
date ema – cheese simmered with peppers.

And the daily fees have kept Bhutan the beautiful country it is. Much of the fee – $65 – went directly to the government to fund projects that worked with conservation, organic farming, carbon-neutral infrastructure and community education – all of which helped make Bhutan the first carbon-negative country in the world. in 2017. Bhutan has also succeeded in keeping 71% of its territory under forest cover, as tourism has eased the pressure on agriculture to support the economy, and hydroelectricity helps generate 95% of the country’s electricity. country.

Residents have also achieved a high standard of living by regional standards, and almost everyone has access to clean water and electricity.

The supervised tour model meant that the country’s Buddhist culture was also not ravaged, as visitors were supervised by an expert guide at all times.

Come September 23, 2022…

Bhutan will reopen on September 23, 2022 without restrictions, and most visitors will be charged a sustainability fee of $200 per day. The government said the increase in the development fee would be used to offset the carbon footprint of tourism, improve carbon-neutral infrastructure and upskill workers in the tourism sector, which would support the country’s post-pandemic recovery. .

On the other hand, this will mean that Bhutan will now only be accessible to budget travelers who will enjoy the crowd-free Himalayan country. On the other hand, it ensures that Bhutan continues its journey towards conscious living.

What about Indian visitors?

Previously, we were exempt from both the daily sustainability fee and the need to join an organized tour, which meant that Indians made up 73% of visitors to Bhutan. During the pandemic, we had to pay a daily fee of $16, but the government has indicated that this amount is likely to increase in the near future.

Images: Shutterstock

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