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Travel & Leisure

Bhutan reopens with $200 tourist tax in test for sustainable travel

Sky-high daily levy worries pandemic-battered tourism operators

Founded in the eighth century, Bhutan's Taktshang (Tiger’s lair) monastery hangs from a rock face 900 meters above a valley. Visitors from outside South Asia will need to pay a $200 daily tax to visit the country and see it. (Photo by Phuntsho Wangdi)

THIMPHU -- The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, regarded as one of the world's most exclusive travel destinations, reopens to tourists on Friday after a closure of around two and half years because of COVID-19.

But the resumption of tourism and quarantine-free entry for fully vaccinated travelers comes with a steep hike in the tourist tax, among other changes designed to keep Bhutan a high-end, sustainable destination. This has left many operators, still reeling from the pandemic, uncertain and anxious.

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