When the first Covid-19 case was detected in March 2020, the country of Bhutan closed its borders. It was a drastic step for a country that’s dependent on tourism as a major source of income.
The tiny constitutional monarchy situated between China and India in the Himalayan mountains has less than 800 000 people and fewer than 60 000 infections. It reported a total of 21 deaths.
Now, after more than two years, the ancient Buddhist culture will reopen its borders for international tourists in September.
Many people are dependent on tourism and the country has gone into a poverty spiral.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan has said that with the reopening of its borders, new changes will be implemented.
International tourists will be charged a Sustainable Development Fee of $200 per tourist per night.
For 30 years, that amount used to be $65. Officials said the reasoning behind the massive increase is to offset tourists’ carbon impact.
The country made the most of its closed borders by revising standards for not only international tourists, but also for service providers like hotels, guides, tour operators and drivers.
“Covid-19 has allowed us to reset, to rethink how the sector can be best structured and operated while keeping carbon footprints low,” Tandi Dorji, the Council’s chairman and the country’s foreign minister, said in a statement.
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