Bhutan is to halve its daily visitor fee in a bid to attract more travellers.
The Himalayan nation currently charges visitors a $200 per day sustainable development fee and will reduce this to $100 per night, according to the country’s tourism department. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 will receive a further discount and will only be charged $50 per night.
The new rate will be implemented on 1 September and will remain in force until 2027. The discount only applies to tourists paying in US dollars.
“The Royal Government of Bhutan is pleased to announce additional incentives and policies to boost the tourism sector,” the government wrote in its announcement. “This is in view of the important role of the tourism sector in generating employment, earning foreign exchange, realising the potential for spillover benefits to ancillary industries, and boosting overall economic growth.”
The daily tourist fee was first raised to $200 last year when the country reopened to international travellers after the pandemic, according to Reuters. The increase was attributed to offsetting the carbon generated by visitors. Previously, the fee was $65.
The decision to reduce the fee comes ahead of the peak tourist season, the director general of the Department of Tourism told Reuters.
Travellers to Bhutan must obtain a visa to enter the country. In addition to the daily fee, travellers must pay a non-refundable visa application fee of $40, which can be applied for either online or through a hotel or tour company. Those applying for a visa must also sign a ‘Friendship Pledge’, which ‘commits to protecting, preserving and positively contributing to our Kingdom’.