Bhutan’s controlled tourism policy – High Value, Low Volume

The Royal Government of Bhutan has enforced a controlled tourism policy to safeguard the fledgling tourism industry from the inherent dangers of unrestricted tourism, particularly to protect its rich natural environment and unique culture and traditions. Ever since it opened its doors to foreign visitors in 1974, Bhutan has managed the number of visitors through a long term and sustainable plan that aims at absorbing only the most conscientious and sincere visitors, thus the policy of High Value and Low Volume tourism was born to build a tourism industry which generated high yields for Bhutan while minimizing the adverse footprints of tourism and modernization. Similarly the government tourism implementing agency, the Tourism Council of Bhutan or TCB introduced a minimum daily package for all tourists. As per the policy, foreign tourists are only allowed to visit with licensed Bhutanese tour operators in Bhutan, where a comprehensive minimum daily package is charged to visitors.

The minimum daily package covers the following services:
1. A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star will require an additional premium)
2. All meals
3. A licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay
4. All internal transport (excluding internal and external flights)
5. Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
6. All internal taxes and charges
7. A sustainable tourism Royalty of $65. This Royalty goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure in Bhutan.

The minimum daily package for tourists traveling in a group of 3 persons or more is as follows:
1. USD $200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.
2. 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. The list of hotels and lodges approved to provide accommodations are all listed on the TCB website. If your accommodation is not listed on this website then it is not licensed to cater for international tourists. The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan. These must be paid in US dollars prior to arrival in Bhutan.


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:
1. Single individual - US$ 40 per night.
2. 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.