Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kingdom of Bhutan reopened its borders to travelers on Friday (23rd September) for the first time in three years. This reopening was made possible by a new tourism strategy that focuses on sustainable development, improved infrastructure, and improved visitor experiences.
The nation recently declared that it would increase the Sustainable Growth Fee (SDF), which supports projects promoting Bhutan’s economic, social, environmental, and cultural development, from US $65 to US $200 per person every night.
Bhutan is increasing its efforts to keep its status as a carbon-negative country since it is a nation that is particularly susceptible to the consequences of climate change. Bhutan prevented 3.8 million tonnes of carbon from being emitted in 2021 by sequestering 9.4 million tonnes.
Tourism Council of Bhutan’s director general Dorji Dhradhul said: “Beyond protecting Bhutan’s natural environment, the SDF will also be directed towards activities that preserve Bhutan’s built and living cultural heritage, including architecture and traditional values, as well as meaningful environmental projects. Our future requires us to protect our heritage, and to forge fresh pathways for forthcoming generations.”
Visitors will now find better roads, paths, and public amenities as well as polished temples and monuments because the nation used the pandemic shutdown time to upgrade its infrastructure.
To improve the guest experience, improved standards and certification procedures have also been implemented for hotels, tour operators, guides, and drivers. Additionally, tourism staff has taken part in upskilling programs to improve the service they offer.
The revitalization of Bhutan’s tourist industry is a component of a larger transformation initiative that is being implemented nationwide to provide residents with greater practical skills and knowledge. The nation has formally announced a new tourism brand with the slogan “Believe,” alluding to the changes.
“Bhutan’s noble policy of high value, low volume tourism has existed since we started welcoming guests to our country in 1974,” said Bhutan’s prime minister Dr Lotay Tshering. “But its intent and spirit were watered down over the years, without us even realising it.
“Typically, high value is understood as exclusive high-end products and extravagant recreational facilities. But that is not Bhutan. And, low volume doesn’t mean limiting the number of visitors. We will appreciate everyone who visits us to treasure our values, while we also learn as much from them.”
Dr Lotay added: “The best conduit to realising our vision are our youth and professionals in the tourism industry. While those working in the tourism sector will represent us at the forefront, the entire nation is the tourism industry, and every Bhutanese a host.
“The minimum fee we are asking our friends to pay is to be reinvested in ourselves, the place of our meeting, which will be our shared asset for generations. Welcome to Bhutan.”
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