In 2020, when the travelers around the globe were geared up to be immersed in the mountains capped with gleaming colours of nature, the Travel corridors closed. The country suspended Tourism visas on 6th March 2020 after a case of Corona Virus was reported. Though the parts of the international community have begun to see the light of hope, one question was on everyone’s mind: When will Bhutan open for Tourism? Due to His Majesty The King’s extraordinary leadership and the government’s tirelessly effort, Bhutan opens for tourism after almost two years.
Bhutan Prepares to Open for Tourism
The Kingdom of Bhutan is nestled between India and China. It has been a popular tourist destination for travellers seeking to escape their overcrowded cities. When the country closed its doors to tourists due to the pandemic, the travellers had to store away their backpacks. However, Bhutan managed to keep the number of infections low by maintaining a rigorous zero-covid policy. Only roughly 60 thousand people are infected, and 21 deaths are reported. And now, after almost 2 years, Bhutan is all set to open for tourism as the country proceeds to a live-with-covid approach.
With the onset of a less dangerous omicron variant, the Government announced that from April 4, tourists from all over the world can visit Bhutan. They are required to undergo a 5-day quarantine for the fully vaccinated and a 10-day quarantine for the unvaccinated. Travelers will need to bear the cost of accommodation and COVID-19 tests. All entry into Bhutan requires approval from the relevant authorities.
The Procedures you need to know for a Hassle Free Trip to Bhutan
Visas and permits have to be processed through a licensed and trusted tour operator. The tour operator will take care of visa arrangements for visitors as ever before. Entrants do not need to undergo pre-departure COVID-19 testing.
Except for Bangladeshi, Maldivian, and Indian nationals, all travellers must acquire visa approval. Your approved Bhutanese tour operator will process your visas through an online system. Once the complete payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) is wired, the visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB).
Tourists visiting the country from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives will have to pay a sustainable development fee (SDF) of Rs 1,200 per day. It is necessary to pay SDF of 65 USD per day for tourists from other countries.
Impact of Pandemic in Tourism of Bhutan
The COVID-19 situation has impacted many people’s lives, from tourism to trade. Everyone has been put to the test, especially the world’s most vulnerable countries and inhabitants.
Bhutan has been a true success story in terms of early viral containment with the lowest number of recorded cases on the subcontinent. Yet, the Himalayan kingdom’s tourism sector has been hit particularly hard.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the economy of a small landlocked country with its closed borders. The tourism ban has harmed the livelihoods of around 50,000 Bhutanese who worked in the industry. During the pre-covid period, tourism was one of the main income generators. In 2019, Bhutan saw 315,599 tourists, generating a revenue of about USD 89 million. However, presently by taking necessary measures, Bhutan opens to tourism. All tourism sectors are set to recover from the hard times they experienced.
What can you expect as a tourist when you visit Bhutan now?
A once-in-a-lifetime adventure unlike any other, but with a face mask this time!
The country’s tourism policy of “High Value, Low Volume” will remain in place. It will continue to promote sustainable tourism based on the carrying capacity of nature, and socio-cultural, and infrastructural reality. As Bhutan opens for tourism again, this principle is likely to help further revive the economy of the country.
The Kingdom continues to persist as a destination for well-being and peace amidst the present situation. You can expect to be inspired after spending time in nature, surrounded by breathtaking mountains. Visiting scenic valleys with meandering rivers and meeting with pleasant Bhutanese people will leave you with a soulful experience. You can still experience a sense of spiritual awakening in its natural beauty, unique culture, and perfect weather.
Three Reasons Why You Should Visit Bhutan
Bhutan was named the best destination to visit in 2020 by Lonely Planet. It is the world’s first carbon-negative country, thanks to its pioneering efforts to tackle climate change. It aims to lead by example with its holistic approach to the nation’s growth and its people’s well-being. All within the scope of the Gross National Happiness philosophy and the remarkable leadership of the Kings. This heaven on earth destination must be on your bucket list.
As Bhutan opens for tourism now, this heaven on earth destination must be on your bucket list.
1. Excellent response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The Himalayan Kingdom has been lauded as a COVID-19 success story on numerous occasions. Managed to keep its people safe as many other countries battle to prevent a large breakout of the new coronavirus. The country has reported only 21 deaths to date, and 90.5% of the population is fully vaccinated.
The Bhutanese credit their success to the guidance of an amazing and selfless king and government’s quick response.
2. Rich Culture and Tradition
Deep spirituality and humility pervade the country.
Colourful Prayer flags of various colours fly in every direction, providing a sense of tranquility and peace. Blessings and prayers for all sentient beings are constantly offered in the country’s temples and monasteries.
Bhutanese culture is intertwined to its religion. Thus, the people of Bhutan hold it in high regard. This respect is manifested even in modern culture through social etiquette. For instance, men and women, wear traditional Bhutanese dress (Gho for men and Kira for women) to work, school and religious locations.
As you travel through Bhutan, you will see the distinctive architecture of monasteries and temples dotting the landscape. The smell of incense fills the air. And you will find the monks chanting mantras everywhere you go. Bhutan’s unique culture and customs have always intrigued and awed tourists from all walks of life.
3. Friendly and Compassionate People
Bhutan may not be the richest country on the planet, but its people are unquestionably the happiest. They have a strong sense of community. The people here rely on their neighbors and community members through difficult times. They are among the most welcoming. Here compassion and goodwill are strongly ingrained in people’s lives.
Bhutan is noted for its high mountains and low-deep valleys, which are rich in biodiversity. Its people seek refuge in the country’s pristine nature and humble community. After two years of the pandemic’s most challenging moments-a period of complete lockdowns and travel bans, Bhutan opens for tourism.