Bhutan’s tourism sector is regarded as one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world. Bhutan enjoys a reputation for authenticity, remoteness and a well-protected cultural heritage and natural environment.Today tourism is a vibrant business with a high potential for growth and further development. The Royal Government of Bhutan adheres strongly to a policy of ‘High Value, Low Impact’ tourism which serves the purpose of creating an image of exclusivity and high- yield for Bhutan.
The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. The Royal Government of Bhutan recognizes that tourism is a world-wide phenomenon and an important means of achieving socioeconomic development particularly for a developing country like Bhutan. It believes that tourism, in affording the opportunity to travel, can help to promote a deeper understanding among people and to strengthen ties of friendship based on a deeper appreciation and respect for different cultures and lifestyles.
Towards achieving this objective, the Royal Government, has adopted a very cautious approach to growth and development of the tourism industry in Bhutan. Its tremendous potential as a truly indigenous industry and the clear comparative advantages Bhutan enjoys, are compelling reasons to promote Bhutan as a high-end tourist destination in a manner which accords with the tenets of Gross National Happiness.
Minimum Daily Package
The minimum daily package covers the following services.
• A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star may require an additional premium).
• All meals
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay
• All internal transport (excluding internal flights)
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
It also includes:
• All internal taxes and charges
• A sustainable tourism Royalty of $65. This Royalty goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.
The minimum daily package for tourists travelling in a group of 3 persons or more is as follows:
USD $200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.
USD $250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.
These rates are applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan.
On the day of departure, the ‘local agents’ host obligation shall be limited to providing breakfast only and any extra requirements shall be payable on usage basis.
Tourists travelling in a group of two (2) persons or less shall be subject to a surcharge, in addition to the minimum daily package rates.
These are as follows:
Single individual – US$ 40 per night
Group of 2 persons only – US$ 30 per person per night
The 10% agency commission payable to agents abroad shall not be deductible from the surcharge.
The surcharge will not be applicable to representatives of foreign travel agents on business study or promotional visit duly approved and cleared by TCB.
A) There shall be no charge for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years. However, those between the ages of 6-12 years accompanied by elders/ guardians shall be given 50% discount on daily rates and 100% discount on Royalty. This Royalty is currently set at $65 per day.
B) Full time STUDENTS below the age of 25 years, holding valid identity cards from their academic institutions, shall also be given a 25% discount on the Royalty.
C) A discount of 50% on minimum daily package shall be given to one person in a group of 11 people. 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons.
D) A 50%discount on Royalty shall be provided after the 8th night and 100% discount on Royalty shall be provided after the 14th night.
E) Visitors availing discounts under Sections A & B shall not be eligible for discount under D.
All visitors to Bhutan require a visa.
Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a visa at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 month validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC)).
All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior to travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent.
You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours.
At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.
There are many different types of accommodations available to visitors in Bhutan. There are hundreds of options available ranging from luxurious 5-star resorts to cozy little hotels and home-stays in traditional Bhutanese homes.
The types of accommodations can be divided into:
Additionally visitors embarking on long treks will be provided with tents and whatever other camping equipment is deemed necessary. Regardless of where they stay, visitors can be assured of their comfort and traditional Bhutanese hospitality.
Bhutan has hundreds of hotels located all across the country. They range from small, simple and clean local hotels to luxurious resorts for affluent travelers seeking the ultimate getaway.
Hotels in Bhutan are rated according to a National 5 Star rating System. All Tour Operators are required to provide their guests with a minimum of 3 Star accommodations so you can be assured of your comfort. Most hotels provide their guests with Television, Room Service, Fitness Centers, Spas and Wi-fi. However the exact services available will vary from hotel to hotel.
There are over 700 licensed and active tour guides working in the country.In order to ensure that visitors receive high quality, professional service every guide must complete a training course. Guides are trained to specialize in either cultural or adventure tours. Many guides complete language courses in German, Japanese, Thai and other languages so that they can easily communicate with guests and all are proficient in English. All tour operators must employ only registered and certified guides.