Bhutan’s tourism sector is regarded as one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world. Bhutan enjoys a reputation for its authenticity, remoteness and a well-protected cultural heritage and natural environment. With its culture and pristine scenery, there’s no question that Bhutan has everything it needs to be a world-famous tourist hotspot.
The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability. To Bhutan, tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. The Royal Government has adopted a very cautious approach to growth and development of the tourism industry in Bhutan. Bhutan adheres to a strict “High Value, Low Impact” tourism policy to avoid the effects of mass tourism. The objective is to develop and promote Bhutan as an exclusive travel destination based on the Gross National Happiness (GNH) development philosophy and values.
The policy has allowed Bhutan to welcome tourists in a manner that contributes to socio-economic development without compromising its identity and natural environment. In return, the “High Value, Low Impact” tourism policy has helped to nurture and preserve Bhutan’s unique cultural heritage and natural assets. As part of the policy, the government has implemented a daily tariff for all tourists visiting the country.
On the 24th of June 2022, the National assembly passed the Tourism Levy Bill of 2022. With this new act, the sustainable development fee (SDF) of 65 USD per night has now been increased to 200 USD per night. Along with the increase in the SDF the minimum daily package rate (MDPR) has been removed as well.
Previously visitors to Bhutan were subject to an MDPR of 250 USD per person per night, out of which 65 USD went to the government as the SDF. With the new bill being passed, tourists visiting Bhutan will have to pay 200 USD per person per night and they will also have to pay separately for accommodation, meals, transport, and guides. This act is the latest tourism bill that has been passed after the Tourism Levy Bill of 2020, as per the Tourism Levy Act of Bhutan 2020.
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Do Children have to pay the SDF?
Children below the age of 5 years are exempted from the SDF. However, the visa application fee of USD 40 is still applicable. For Children between 5 years and below 12 years old, they are required to pay USD 100 per person per night as the SDF. *SDF does not include accommodation, meals, transport and guides.
Do I need to purchase travel insurance?
Yes, all travellers need to have mandatory travel insurance.