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Bhutan's neighbors 'undermining' elite tourism strategy

Regional tourists are spoiling the fun for global big spenders, operators say

The iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery in the Paro Valley is Bhutan’s most famous tourist site. Founded in the eighth century, the Buddhist temple clings to a cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. (Photo by Phuntsho Wangdi)

Wedged between India and China, the tiny kingdom of Bhutan has long been regarded as one of the world's most exclusive destinations, off the beaten track for the average tourist.

Until recently, a cautious approach to developing international tourism, in line with a "high value, low impact" strategy that requires foreign visitors from most parts of the world to spend a minimum of $250 a day during peak season, had limited arrivals while generating substantial economic benefits. Tourism is the country's biggest hard-currency earner, bringing in $85.4 million in 2018, and overall revenue is second only to hydropower.

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