You can visit Bhutan again — if you're willing to cough up $200 a day in fees

The Kingdom of Bhutan is reopening to tourists on Friday with a hefty hike to its daily tourist tax. Before the country closed its borders in March 2020 in response to

the Covid-19 pandemic, travelers to Bhutan were required to pay a minimum daily package rate of $200-$250 — depending on the time of year. The rate often included hotel, food,

transportation and tour guide costs as well as a mandatory $65 Sustainable Development Fee. But in late June, Bhutan passed a Tourism Levy Bill that eliminated the minimum

daily package rate in favor of raising the Sustainable Development Fee from $65 to $200 per person per day. Travel costs — for hotels and food, for example — are not covered

by the fee. The country is providing a fee discount for families, said Raju Rai, the CEO of Heavenly Bhutan Travels. "It is 50% for children between 6-12 years [old]

and ... free for children 5 years and below," he said.'An active contribution' Bhutan, and supporters of the new policy, say the move is in line with the country's continued

goal to attract "high value, low volume" tourism. To experience the country — which is famous for providing travelers a rare glimpse of authenticity in a world replete with

tourist traps — visitors must "make an active contribution to Bhutan's economic, social and cultural development," according to the corporate website for the Tourism Council of

Bhutan. The Tourism Council said the fees will go toward upgrading infrastructure, training workers in the travel industry, preserving cultural traditions, protecting the

environment and creating jobs that provide fair wages and working conditions.