Photo Credit: Reuters

21,409 tourists arrived in the country from 23 September 2022 to 3 January 2023

As per Department of Tourism (DoT), a total of 21,409 tourists have arrived in the country from 23 September 2022 to 3 January 2023.

A total of 3,776 tourists arrived in the country paying the full USD 200 Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), with 6,108 tourists paying the old SDF of USD 65, and 11,525 guests paying the SDF of Nu 1,200.

Bhutan opened its tourism formally on 23 September 2022, with 120 international guests on the first day.

With the reopening of tourism on 23 September, the SDF was revised to USD 200 per night for international visitors and a concessionary levy rate of Nu 1,200 is applied to visitors from India.

According to the Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2019, USD 345.88 million (mn) worth of tourism business were generated in the country in 2019.

As stated in the State of the Nation (SOTN) Report, since the opening of tourism on 23 September 2022, the industry has generated a revenue of approximately Nu 25.75 mn.

Meanwhile, as per the SOTN, around 137,000 visitors are expected to arrive in 2025, which is around 44 percent of visitors in 2019. However, the spending is estimated to rise with SDF revenues reaching pre-COVID-19 level by the end of 2023.

Similarly, from the 12,488 tourists in 2022 the prediction for 2023 is 63,964 total visitors with 22,220 from Countries Other Than India (COTI) and 41,744 visitors from India, for 2024 it is 107,590 total visitors with 38,016 from COTI and 69,574 from India.

In 2025, the predicted breakup of the total 137,000 visitors is 56,078 from COTI and 81,733 from India.

The new system mandates visitors to make advance payments of applicable SDF charged per person per night along with a one-time visa fee.

Tourists now have the flexibility to choose their services, and make direct payment to the service providers or continue to book through tour operators, as per their preferences.

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