Bhutan Tourism Policy
Bhutan Tourism Policy : Tourism in Bhutan is still in its infancy compared to rest of the world, having only embraced this sector in the year 1974. Bhutan popularly known as ‘land of the thunder dragon’, today universally is better known as the kingdom of ‘Gross National Happiness’, where happiness takes precedence over Gross National Product with priority on conservation of environment, preservation & promotion of culture, good governance and equitable & equal socio-economic development. Tourism in Bhutan functions within the four parameters of Gross National Happiness especially in relation to the environmental conservation and preservation of culture. The Royal Government of Bhutan adheres strongly to a principle policy of “High Value, Low Volume tourism” which has been formulated to protect the negative impact of tourism on the country’s culture and environment by application of controlled mechanisms via regulated conducted tours through government licensed agencies in which fixed daily tariff has been made mandatory. As a package, the fixed daily tariff entitles a traveler to stay in 3 Star government recognized hotels on American plan with services of a trained licensed guide and vehicle with fixed sightseeing and free medical services whenever needed.
When Tourism commenced in 1974, a total of 287 tourists visited the country; after which the number has increased exponentially. The government privatized tourism in October 1991 to encourage increased private sector participation in the tourism sector. Today there are more than 1500 licensed tour operators in the country.
There is no quota or limit on the number of tourists allowed to visit Bhutan. But the volume of tourists coming to Bhutan has been limited by the capacity constraints of tourism infrastructure due to the pronounced seasonality of tourism in the country. March/April and October/November are the top tourist seasons as the weather is best for trekking and cultural festivals are taking place in different parts of the country.