Bhutan Tourism Policy

Tourism has been strictly limited in Bhutan so that traditional culture can be preserved and nurtured. 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 also economically viable. For these reasons, tourists to the kingdom have been carefully monitored and the number of tourists visiting Bhutan is kept to an environmentally manageable level. Visitors may experience Bhutan only on all-inclusive Bhutan package tours for which a fixed daily tourist tariff is set by the Royal Government of Bhutan. This daily tour price covers the following services: accommodation & all meals, transportation for travel within Bhutan, tour guide, entrances fees to museums, monuments and cultural sites.

BHUTAN TOUR RESERVATION POLICY: All Bhutan tours must be booked through licensed Bhutanese Tour Operators or Travel agents, which would arrange all the travel needs for the tourists for their trip to Bhutan including the Bhutanese tourist visa and booking flights to Bhutan on Drukair. For any travel information requirements, all visitors may contact any tour operators or travel agents in Bhutan. For Cultural Tours or general sightseeing tours, tour booking must be done at least 4 weeks in advance, but for any kind of tours during festival seasons, tour booking must be done well in advance. The spring and autumn festivals are our peak times, and without early reservations it can be difficult to confirm flights and hotels. For Trekking groups, Bhutan trip booking arrangements should be completed at least 8 weeks in advance, as this activity requires detailed forward planning. We are well equipped with experienced tour and trekking staff and can offer to tourists a choice of the finest and best organized trekking experiences in the entire Himalayas. The Tourism Council of Bhutan regulates all tourism related activities in Bhutan. The existing Bhutanese travel agencies and Bhutanese tour operators are approved and registered by them. They also fix the minimum daily Bhutan tour prices. 35 % of the daily tour price goes directly to the Tourism Council of Bhutan as a tourist tax and hence to the national treasury.

DAILY TOURIST TARIFF: Tour rate is as follows (as of 2010 & 2011): Peak season: February, March, April, May, July, August, September, October, November and December For group of 3 persons or above, the daily tour cost is US$ 200 per night per person For a group of 2 persons, the daily tour cost is US$ 230 per night per person (daily tariff US$ 200 + surcharge US$ 30) For 1 person or a lone traveler, the daily tour cost is US$ 240 per night per person (daily tariff US$ 200 + surcharge US$ 40) Tour rate during the Lean season is as follows: Low season: January & June For a group of 3 persons or above, the daily tour price is US$ 165 per night per person For a group of 2 persons, the daily tour cost is US$ 195 per night per person (daily tariff US$ 165 + surcharge US$ 30) For 1 person or a single traveler, the daily tour cost is US$ 205 per night per person (daily tariff U $ 165 + surcharge US$ 40) The above tour cost is inclusive of the following: Bhutan Government royalty/tourist tax Twin sharing Standard hotel rooms in tourist standard hotels All Meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) English speaking tour guide Refreshments (tea, coffee, cold drinks and snacks) All transfers and sightseeing/treks/tours within Bhutan All entrance fees BST (Bhutan Sales Tax) The rates given above are applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan. On the day of departure, the local Bhutan tour operators / Bhutan travel agents’ obligation shall be limited to breakfast only and any extra requirements shall be payable on actual basis. The following is not included in the daily tariff: Visa fee US$40/person (must be paid in advance with tour cost). Airfares Travel insurance Alcoholic beverages Other personal expenses, calls overseas, laundry, excess baggage charges, etc.

DISCOUNT ON DAILY TOURIST RATE: There shall be no charge for CHILDREN up to the age of 5 years. However, those between the ages of 6 to 12 years accompanied by elders/guardians shall be given a 40% discount on daily rates. 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 daily rates A discount of 50% on daily rates shall be given to one person in a group of 11 to 15 persons; 100% discount shall be given to one member in a group exceeding 16 persons. A discount of 10% on the daily rates of US$200 shall be provided from 9th nights and 20% discount is given from 21st night onwards.

BHUTAN CUSTOMS INFORMATION: All visitors are required to complete a customs form upon arrival at Paro International Airport. The following items are exempted from customs duty: 1. Personal effects. 2. Instruments, apparatus or appliances for professional use. 3. Photographic equipments, video cameras and other electronic goods. Import of tobacco or tobacco products for personal consumption are subject to 100% sales tax and 100% customs duty. The maximum allowance for personal consumption is: 1. Cigarettes: 1 carton of 200 cigarettes. 2. Pipe tobacco: 3 tins of 50 grams each. 3. Other tobacco products: 50 grams.

INFORMATION ON IMPORT/EXPORT RESTRICTIONS: Import/export of the following goods is strictly prohibited 1. Arms, ammunitions and explosives 2. All narcotics and drugs except medically prescribed drugs 3. Wildlife products, especially those of endangered species 4. Antiques. Imports of plants, soils etc. are subject to quarantine regulations. These items must be declared on arrival. Visitors are advised to be cautious in purchasing old and used items, especially of religious or cultural significance, as such items may not be exported without a clearance certificate. The visitors may seek our tour company’s help and advice before committing to such purchases.

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