Bhutan Travel Blog

Bhutan tourism recovery outlook in 2021

While Bhutan tourism reopening plans remains unclear, the future outlook is quite bright and nice. 2021 will mark the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and tourism will return to the much anticipated “new normal”, whatever that actually means. Read below our thoughts and expectations how this will unfold and keep hoping with us, that nothing can hamper the recovery.

Happy New Year 2021

At the very beginning of 2021, Bhutan still remains closed for tourism. Even worse, country is experiencing its second lockdown, fighting the biggest coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Each day, tens of new cases emerges, proving that even with borders closed and very firm quarantine measures in place, virus can still find it’s way to the community.

However, authorities are fighting with this outbreak with firm resolution. Ultimately they will get it under control in coming weeks. Still, no-one died with COVID-19 diagnosis in Bhutan and everything possible will be made that it remain so.

You can follow our regularly updated Bhutan Tourism & COVID-19 FAQ for actual number of cases and other related news.

Vaccines are coming!

With number of vaccines being approved, the 2021 will be a year of vaccination. This is our only quick and easy way how to get out of the pandemic and restart the tourism.

Bhutan is expected to get it’s first batch of vaccines for 20% of the population at the beginning of the year through the WHO’s COVAX scheme. According to unofficial information from Bhutan’s Health Ministry, the majority of Bhutanese citizens should be vaccinated thorough the Summer 2021. Bhutan has a great advantage of small and disciplined population, which makes realization of wide scale vaccination program relatively straightforward thing.

As of now, the vaccines being rolled out are proven to protect against the serious consequences of COVID-19, not against the Sars-Cov-2 virus infection. Unfortunately as of now, scientists don’t know if vaccination prevents person from spreading the virus. Until this is decided, we can’t expect that traveling will be any easier for vaccinated people. Anyway in few coming months scientists will have enough data to conclude if vaccine stops infectiousness or not. Most odds are that it does. Once this is proven, traveling should be much easier for those who had got the jab.

Bhutan tourism reopening schedule

If Bhutan vaccination project unfolds according to the plan, tourism should be fully restarted for Autumn season of 2021. Some measures, like testing, hygienic precautions, personal protection etc. might remain, though. We also expect that all incoming travelers will be required to be vaccinated themselves.

Regarding the prospect of tourism reopening in Spring 2021, it remains quite unsure. While we hope that at least some incoming travelers will be permitted, we can’t rule out that the situation won’t still be ripe enough for that. If reopening takes place, we can expect that vaccination will be required along with the negative test and maybe even some kind of quarantine.

Kindly mind that these are just our qualified predictions. Keep hope with us that upcoming year 2021 will bring back the lifestyle we lost, although some inevitable changes are deemed to happen too.

New normal

“New normal” was a ubiquitous buzzword thorough the 2020, without anybody really knowing what it is going to mean. 2021 will finally show us.

We don’t expect revolutionary changes. One thing is sure, in 2021 there will be very fewer people traveling than before. Which is actually great since you will avoid the crowds.

We noticed many predications saying that travel will get more expensive due to COVID-19 crisis, anyway so far, we see little evidence for that. Flight ticket costs are remaining pretty much same and other services seems to get even little cheaper. In Bhutan particularly, the costs based on Minimum Daily Tariff policy will certainly remain in place.

What definitely changed is the number of flights connecting the world cities. Flight options and availability will probably not reach pre-covid levels until mid-2022. This is boring, but some inconvenience is integral part of travel.

Bhutan did its homework during the coronavirus break. The lateral highway which was being reconstructed for the last couple of years is now almost complete, making travel much faster and convenient. Some hotels used the time for reconstruction. Many new hiking trails were developed, especially along the Trans Bhutan Trail.

All in all, the tourism experience is not going to get worse and most likely it will get better. So don’t hesitate, make plans to visit Bhutan, one of the least coronavirus affected country! We will be keenly awaiting you in 2021 or any other time!