Bhutan Doesn’t Want Poor Visitors: Bhutan To Reopen Its

Bhutan Doesn't Want Poor Visitors: Bhutan To Reopen Its

Two years into the pandemic, Bhutan is ready to open its borders, but with a sustainable development fee (SDF) of $200 per person per day for tourists from different countries. It is in addition to the other travel expenses. However, for Indian Citizens, the SDF will be $15 per day.

The tourism & hospitality industry is witnessing significant economic growth post-pandemic. Tourists and travellers are swarming to their favourite tourist destination at any given opportunity possible. However, what globetrotters are not aware of is that greed is taking over the tourism business.


In the name of new travel initiatives and taxes, a few countries are trying to make the most of over-tourism post-pandemic. And one such country is Bhutan.


Bhutan, though considerate yet in a sneaky tone, sends a clear message voicing it does not want poor visitors from other countries to enter its land anymore.

“The new approach is aimed at elevating the travel experience in Bhutan and the industry through fair and healthy competition,” the Tourism Council of Bhutan claimed. Also, to experiment with ‘high value, low volume tourism.’

Regardless, not many countries are optimistic about Bhutan’s move to tax travellers, as it may have a domino effect elsewhere. It may compel other countries to take the same measure, and consequently, travelling can get needlessly pricey.

Besides Bhutan, Venice is the only tourist hotspot considering charging an SDF. However, it would be $3-$10 per person a day from next year in Venice. This makes Bhutan’s travel levy of $200 per person the highest globally and absurd.

India, on the other hand, is not happy with the measure. Of 29,812 tourist arrivals in Bhutan in 2019, as many as 22,298 were from India.

“India shares strong diplomatic, political and trade ties with Bhutan, so this levy is not going down well with us. The best way to counter it is by levying a reciprocal fee for Bhutanese nationals who travel to India,” the expert suggested. With the outbreak of Covid, tourist arrivals dropped by 90% in Bhutan in 2020.

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