In 1974, Bhutan opened its door to tourists, but strict entry regulations, the remoteness of the country, and relatively limited transportation facilities have restricted the number of visitors. Tourists may only enter as a member of an established tour group. Passports and visas are required. The beautiful Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha valleys, with their many monasteries, are accessible to tourists. Archery is the national sport.
Income from tourism totaled approximately $10 million in 2000 and there were 7,559 foreign visitors, including over 5,000 visitors from the US and Europe.
In 1999, the UN estimated the cost of staying in Thimphu at $59. In rural areas, expenditures were estimated at $48 per day.