News Travel Tourism: Bhutan Tourist Tax of $200 Per Day Halved
One year after introducing a contentious daily tourist tax of $200, Bhutan is reversing its decision. The nation initially justified this fee as a means to "fund and develop a more sustainable tourism sector," openly endorsing an approach based on wealth: "High value, low volume." However, it has since reconsidered its strategy.
Bhutan has chosen to reduce this tax by half in an effort to attract new tourists. The authorities explained in a statement that these measures are part of the significant role played by the tourism sector in job creation, foreign exchange earnings, potential benefits for related industries, and overall economic growth. The statement outlines, "A 50% reduction will be granted on the current Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of $200 for tourists paying in US dollars visiting Bhutan. The effective SDF with the reduction will be $100 per person per day for tourists paying in US dollars." Additionally, the tourism ministry stated, "A 50% reduction in the tax will also be granted on the rates applied to children aged 6 to 12 years for those children paying in US dollars visiting Bhutan as tourists." The exemption of the tax for 24 hours for tourists staying in border towns remains unchanged.
These measures took effect on September 1st and will be valid for four years, until August 31, 2027.
However, it's important to note that the situation may evolve. The royal government will conduct periodic evaluations of national and international tourism scenarios and may end the aforementioned incentives to maintain and promote Bhutan's policy of high-value, low-volume tourism after August 31, 2027, according to the tourism ministry's statement.