Bhutan Expands Tourist Incentives; Slashes Fee by 50 Percent

Bhutan has announced additional incentives and policy measures to boost its tourism sector, introducing a 50 percent reduction on its tourism levy, known as the daily Sustainable Development Fee (SDF). Bhutan’s commitment to high value, low volume tourism is underscored by its SDF, which is now $100 per person, per night (down from $200 per person per night). The new, lower levy will be in effect until September 2027.

The change was made in view of the important role of the tourism sector in generating employment; earning foreign exchange; realizing the potential for spillover benefits for ancillary industries; boosting overall economic growth; and funding important environmental, social and infrastructure projects.

The new incentives and measures shall consist of the following:

  • A fifty percent reduction will be granted on the prevailing SDF of $200 for U.S. dollar-paying guests visiting Bhutan. The effective SDF with the discount will be $100 per person per night for U.S. dollar-paying tourists.
  • Additionally, a fifty percent reduction on the SDF shall be granted on the rates applied to children aged between six and 12 years for U.S. dollar-paying children visiting as tourists. The effective SDF with the discount for children will be $50 per person per night for U.S. dollar-paying tourists. Children who have not yet turned six years old are eligible to visit Bhutan without paying any SDF.
  • The 24-hour SDF waiver for tourists staying in the border towns shall continue.

The above incentives will come into effect from September 1, 2023 and shall remain effective for four years until August 31, 2027. Previously, the country enacted a series of programs designed to encourage longer stays, essentially a "two-for-one" in terms of nights stayed versus SDF paid. These incentives have been revoked with the introduction of the new 50 percent incentive.

Additionally, any guests who have already paid the SDF for their upcoming visit to Bhutan are eligible for refunds on any excess SDF amounts paid.

Good to know: Funds from the SDF go to a range of projects that are designed to support Bhutan’s preservation and progress, and ensure that it never becomes a mass tourism destination. The projects funded by the SDF include the provision of free healthcare and education for all Bhutanese; a range of sustainability and conservation projects; cultural preservation programs; infrastructure upgrades; youth development programs, and more.

Since January 2023, Bhutan has received almost 60,000 guests, which matches what was predicted for 2023 arrivals. It is expected that Bhutan’s tourism numbers will rebound to pre-pandemic figures in 2025.

SDF is paid by guests at the time of visa application. Visas can be applied for at the Department of Tourism’s website,

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