Chapter 16 TOURISM
Revenue earning (Mil. US $)
Asia and Pacific
18,000 15,000 12,000 9000 6000 3000 0
International arrivals by region (2006 estimates)
International arrivals by region (2006 estimates) America 5,627 Asia and Pacific 4,317 Europe 7,267 Africa 88 Middle East 12 Others 0 All regions 17,342 Revenue earning (Mil. US $) 23.92
Tourism was first introduced in the country in 1974 with 287 arrivals. It was privatized by the government in 1991. Today it is a vibrant business with more than 400 tour operators. Even though the potential for tourism development is enormous, Bhutan has taken a very cautious approach, recognizing the problems associated with mass tourism. As a control-free policy can have irreversible impact on the environment, culture and identity of the people, the tourism industry in Bhutan is based on the principle of sustainability, indicating that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. It therefore strongly adheres to the policy of â€˜high value low volumeâ€™ tourism with the number of tourists visiting Bhutan regulated to manageable levels through a policy of government regulated tourist tariff.
314 X FACTS ABOUT BHUTAN
Minimum Tariff The policy of high value tourism is best supported by a system of daily minimum tariff of USD 200 per person per night fixed by the government of Bhutan, which has been further increased. The rates can be higher, depending upon the nature of services desired beyond the entitlement for the minimum tariff. The minimum daily tariff with effect from 1st July 2009 for group of 3 pax or more is USD 250 per person per night halt for peak months (Feb-May, Aug-Dec) and USD 200 per person per night halt for regular months (June, July and Jan).
The above tariff covers: Government royalty/tourists/night High Season USD 65 Low Season USD 55 2 percent government tax High Season USD 2.30 Low Season USD 1.87 Contribution to Tourism Development Fund USD 10 per tourist (whole duration) The balance amount after all the above deductions covers: • Accommodation • Food and non-alcoholic beverages. • Internal transport • Guide • Overheads • Entrance fees for museums • Trekking equipment • Porter and pony charges • Domestic operator’s return The minimum price applies to groups of 3 or more. For independent trav-
elers daily surcharges in addition to minimum price apply at USD 40 each for a single traveller and USD 30 for 2 persons. Children less than 5 years can travel free. The daily minimum price is most often misinterpreted to be extremely high. The fee infact covers a package that include all internal taxes and charges including royalty, accommodation, all meals, services of licensed guides, internal transport and camping equipments and haulage for trekking tours. The royalty portion goes to the government exchequer, which in turn mainly supports free medical care, free education and other welfare schemes. All visitors in a way therefore make valuable contribution to the welfare system of the country.