Bhutan, nestled high in the Himalayas, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes. As the world’s last remaining Buddhist kingdom, Bhutan is now making it easier for tourists from India and Maldives by introducing a visa-free travel policy. This move is part of Bhutan's strategy to revitalize its tourism industry and promote its unique philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which prioritizes well-being over GDP.


Bhutan’s Tourism Revival

In April 2024, Bhutan announced promising economic news with the Bhutan Development Update revealing an expected robust recovery. For the fiscal year 2022/23, experts forecast a 4.6 percent increase in real GDP, driven primarily by a surge in tourism activities. Projections for 2023/24 are even more optimistic, with an expected growth rate of 4.9 percent.


Record-Breaking Tourist Numbers

Between January 1 and March 31, 2024, Bhutan saw a record number of visitors, with over 25,000 tourists, 60% of whom were from India. March 2024 was the third busiest month since Bhutan's reopening, highlighting its growing appeal among Indian travelers. Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay expects around 150,000 Indian tourists this year, more than double the number in 2023.


Celebrating 50 Years of Tourism

Bhutan is celebrating half a century of tourism with an exclusive India Road Show from June 17 to 21, 2024. This event aims to highlight Bhutan’s summer travel prospects, targeting India as a crucial market. The road show will visit Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad, facilitating interactions among travel experts and promoting bespoke travel experiences in Bhutan.


Top Destinations in Bhutan

  • Paro: Known for its serene environment and historical significance, Paro is Bhutan’s most popular tourist destination. The city hosts Bhutan’s only international airport and offers stunning views of rugged mountains and verdant fields.
  • Thimphu: Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, offers a blend of traditional architecture and modern amenities. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, it provides picturesque views of emerald forests and the Raidak River.
  • Punakha: A haven for adventure enthusiasts, Punakha is famous for river rafting at the convergence of the Mo and Pho rivers.
  • Trongsa: Centrally located, Trongsa is known for its abundant flora and the significant Trongsa Dzong, offering a perfect spot for contemplation and exploration.
  • Wangdue Phodrang: This town is known for its artistic bamboo products, slate, and stone carvings. The annual Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu festival is a cultural highlight.

New Charter Flights

In response to the increasing popularity of Bhutan among Indian travelers, MakeMyTrip has announced new exclusive charter services between Mumbai and Bhutan, starting from April 27 to June 2. These flights, operated by Drukair and Bhutan Airlines, cater to the growing demand and ensure seamless travel for tourists.


Sustainable Development and Revenue

Bhutan has collected around USD 13 million in revenue from Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) between January and April 2024. This financial boost underscores the country’s commitment to sustainable tourism practices.


Access and Connectivity

Drukair, Bhutan’s national airline, offers direct flights from Paro International Airport to various Asian destinations, including Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Dhaka, Singapore, Mumbai, and Guwahati. This connectivity enhances Bhutan’s accessibility for international travelers.



Bhutan's new visa-free travel policy for India and Maldives, combined with strategic tourism initiatives and improved connectivity, positions the kingdom as a top travel destination. As Bhutan continues to embrace sustainable tourism, it offers visitors a unique blend of cultural richness, natural beauty, and modern amenities.