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According to What are the visa (or any other crucial) requirements of Bhutan for tourists? and a dozen other web pages, tourists are only allowed in Bhutan as part of a US$200 (or more) organized tour, which includes lodging and meals.  I haven't been able to find anything that says different.

So are the 111 AirBNB sites in the country only for locals?  102 of them are less than a hundred US dollars per night.

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I don't have any first-hand experience in getting milked 200 USD per day in Bhutan (which is discounted to 100 USD from 01 September 2023 to 31 August 2027), but I see Europeans leaving reviews in those Airbnb and https://www.mfa.gov.bt/rbedhaka/visa-for-visiting-bhutan/ and https://visit.doi.gov.bt/help/faq don't say that being part of an organized tour is required to get a visa, which makes sense as tourists can stay up to 90 days in Bhutan (which would be a rather long organized tour). Therefore, I'm inferring that the information you have read is outdated.

From https://visit.doi.gov.bt/help/faq:

  • Visitors can apply for their visa or permit through this website, or they can engage tourism service providers to process their visa or permit.
  • Foreigners can stay in Bhutan as a tourist for a maximum of 90 days.

I've posted a list of current requirements to get a tourist visa in Bhutan here.

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It is no longer necessary to be part of an organized tour to visit Bhutan, according to the FAQ page of the official Bhutan tourism website:

Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?

No. In the past, all visitors needed to book their travel to and within Bhutan through an accredited tour operator. Any visitor travelling to Bhutan after our reopening on September 23rd 2022 can now book all aspects of the journey independently. Still, we warmly recommend our many accredited tour operators for their expert knowledge and excellent service.

The Sustainable Development Fee of USD 100 a day, discounted from USD 200 a day until 2027, does still usually apply (according to the same FAQ page).

This should mean that you can use AirBnB lodging for your stay.

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Not just locals: Indians are exempt from the visa requirements, and can enter Bhutan visa-free. I bet they are the main AirBnB clients there.

Also, citizens from Bangladesh and the Maldives get a visa on arrival, with no pre-conditions.

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    Yeah, read that too but didn't mention it on the excuse that they're close enough to pretend they're local. :-)
    – WGroleau
    Nov 26, 2023 at 2:30

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