After nearly three years of closure, Bhutan has finally reopened its doors to international travellers for the first time since the breakout of coronavirus.

From 23 September foreign visitors were once again able to fly into Paro airport and explore the beautiful Buddhist kingdom located within the Himalayan mountains.

Those who visit will be able to experience the country’s extraordinary sacred temples, ancient monuments and culture and nature trails, which were all closed and upgraded during the pandemic.

Commenting on Bhutan’s long-running ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism strategy, the country’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said: “Its intent and spirit were watered down over the years, without us even realising it. Therefore, as we reset as a nation after this pandemic, and officially open our doors to visitors today, we are reminding ourselves about the essence of the policy, the values and merits that have defined us for generations.”

Director General of the Tourism Council of Bhutan, Dorji Dhradhul, said: “Beyond protecting Bhutan’s natural environment, the SDF will also be directed towards activities that preserve Bhutan’s built and living cultural heritage, including architecture and traditional values, as well as meaningful environmental projects. Our future requires us to protect our heritage, and to forge fresh pathways for forthcoming generations.”

“We need tourism to not only benefit Bhutan economically, but socially as well, while maintaining our low sustainable footprint.

He continued: “The goal of our new strategy is to create high value experiences for guests, in addition to well-paying and professional jobs for our citizens.  This is our moment of evolution, and we invite our guests to become our partners in this transformative moment.”

The new model also aims to heighten the overall experience of visitors to its country. This can be through elevated quality of service, overall cleanliness, less cars on roads and reduced tourists at its most attractive sacred sites. “By doing so, we protect the experience for visitors to Bhutan, as we must be able to provide authentic experiences supported by world-class services and personal care”, concluded Tandi Dorji, Bhutan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.