Nestled 7,874 feet in the Himalayas, Bhutan has been a favourite among travellers for many years, but since it was hit by COVID-19, the country has been off-limits to tourists. After 2 years of closing its borders, the country finally announced that it would welcome tourists on 4 April 2022 with shortened quarantine periods.
According to the announcement issued by the Royal Government of Bhutan Ministry of Health, individuals who wish to travel to the country are required to produce a negative COVID-19 test certificate upon arrival. The test should be carried out by RT-PCR from a certified laboratory not earlier than 3 days or 72 hours before their journey from their country of origin.
Meanwhile, migrant workers from India are only required to undergo medical screening and may produce a negative rapid antigen test result if they do not have RT-PCR testing access.
Moreover, all incoming individuals travelling to Bhutan are required to undergo mandatory facility quarantine and testing following the protocols of the Ministry of Health. As of press time, fully vaccinated travellers need to quarantine for 5 days, while unvaccinated travellers need to quarantine for 10 days. Initially, a visitor needs to finish a 14-day quarantine period.
Travellers must also bear the accommodation and COVID-testing costs.
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Since March 2022, Bhutan has been rolling out their vaccination drive for children aged 5 to 11. The government is also closely monitoring how they will work towards adopting the “new normal” after COVID-19.
Bhutan, also dubbed the “Last Shangri La,” is known as a hotspot for nature lovers who want to experience the lushness of the environment. Furthermore, it is the only country that emits zero carbon.
Notably, the country prioritises “Gross National Happiness,” a term coined by its 4th King, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who stated that “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product,” implying that Bhutan must focus on sustainable and holistic development, as well as the non-economic aspects of the country.
All entries to Bhutan still require approval from relevant authorities.