Bhutan Reduces Its Daily Tourist Tax

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Bhutan, which is well-known for charging tourists a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) per night, is now reducing these fees for visitors who stay longer than four nights. It is attempting to increase the number of tourists following the pandemic. Bhutan increased the nightly levy or SDF to $200 in September of last year, up from $65 for the previous three decades. The action was implemented to increase the tourism industry’s revenue.

Under the new regulations, tourists who pay daily fees for four days will be permitted to stay for an additional four days. Those who pay SDF for 12 days may remain for an entire month. The incentive, however, only applies to tourists who pay in dollars, not to tourists from India and other neighbouring countries who pay in rupees. The new regulations are in effect this month through the end of 2024.

Currently, Indian visitors to Bhutan must pay SDF of 1,200 rupees per night.

Bhutan plans to gradually increase tourism’s contribution to its $3 billion economy to 20 percent from the current 5 percent. In addition, it intends to welcome 86,000 guests by the end of the year, after experiencing a decline in visitors following the removal of COVID-19 restrictions. Since January, the country has already welcomed more than 47 thousand visitors.

The SDF is intended to entice affluent visitors while discouraging budget travellers who allegedly harm the environment. The funds generated by SDF help in maintaining the pristine landscape and reduce the carbon footprints left by visitors. To protect the sanctity of its peaks, the nation-state prohibits mountain climbing.

Bhutan, also known as the Land of Happiness, offers an enchanting combination of pristine natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a commitment to sustainable development.

Bhutan is renowned for its breathtakingly gorgeous national parks, including Jigme Dorji National Park and Royal Manas National Park, which are home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species such as the takin and snow leopard.

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