Bhutan Reduces Daily Tourist Taxes to Encourage Longer Stays

Bhutan, the Land of Happiness, is lowering its daily tourist taxes in a bid to boost visitor numbers after the pandemic. The reduced fees apply to tourists staying for more than four nights and aim to increase revenue from the tourism industry. Find out the details of this initiative, including eligibility criteria and the impact on Bhutan's economy and conservation efforts.

Bhutan, renowned for its pristine natural beauty, vibrant cultural heritage, and dedication to sustainable development, has recently announced a reduction in the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) imposed on tourists visiting the country.

The move aims to stimulate tourism and revitalize the sector following the challenges posed by the global pandemic.

Revised Fees to Stimulate Tourism Recovery

In an effort to generate more revenue from the tourism industry, Bhutan increased the nightly SDF charge to $200 from its previous rate of $65, which had been in place for nearly three decades.

However, the new policy seeks to incentivize longer stays by lowering the fees for tourists who spend more than four nights in the country.


Extended Stays as an Incentive

Under the revised regulations, tourists who pay the daily fees for a minimum of four days will be granted an additional four days of stay.

Furthermore, visitors paying the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) for a duration of 12 days will be permitted to remain in the country for an entire month.

Exclusivity for Dollar-Paying Tourists

It is important to note that this incentive exclusively applies to tourists paying in US dollars, while visitors from India and other neighbouring countries who pay in rupees are not eligible for the reduced fees.

Effective Dates and Eligibility

The updated rules came into effect this month and will be valid until the conclusion of 2024. As of now, Indian tourists are required to pay an SDF of 1,200 rupees per night during their visits to Bhutan.


Bhutan Aims to Increase Tourism Revenue

The country’s objective is to gradually increase the contribution of tourism to its $3 billion economy from the current 5 per cent to an ambitious 20 per cent.

Additionally, Bhutan aims to welcome approximately 86,000 visitors by the end of this year, aiming for a substantial recovery after a significant decline due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since January, Bhutan has already hosted over 47,000 tourists, showcasing a promising trend.

SDF Helps Preserve Natural Environment

The Sustainable Development Fee is strategically designed to attract affluent tourists while deterring budget-conscious travellers, who are believed to have a negative impact on the environment.

The funds generated through the SDF play a crucial role in preserving unspoiled landscapes and minimizing the carbon footprint left by visitors. Bhutan, often referred to as the “Land of Happiness,” also implements a ban on mountain climbing to protect the sanctity of its peaks.


Bhutan’s Tourism Industry Thrives

Renowned for its breathtaking national parks, including the Jigme Dorji National Park and Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna. These pristine natural habitats serve as a refuge for rare and endangered species such as the takin and snow leopard.

As Bhutan takes progressive measures to enhance its tourism industry, the country remains committed to its vision of sustainable development, offering visitors a captivating blend of natural wonders and cultural treasures that truly make it the Land of Happiness.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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