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Tourism Policy: Overview

Bhutan's policy on tourism

 

"low volume, high value" enables Bhutan to maintain its unique culture and protect its environment despite modernization

 

The Kingdom of Bhutan opened its doors to tourism only in 1974 under a regulated program. And in 1991, the Royal Government of Bhutan privatized the tourism industry to encourage increased private sector participation. Today, the number of tourists visiting the country continues to increase each year as Bhutan becomes better known globally.

The Royal Government of Bhutan has been always aware that an unrestricted flow of tourists can have adverse impacts on Bhutan’s unique culture and traditions and its pristine environment. Bhutan therefore adopted a policy of "Low Volume and High Value" tourism on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable, and economically viable. Hence, tourists must arrange travel through a licensed Bhutanese travel agency and cannot travel independently.

Having restricted the flow of tourism right from the beginning, Bhutan is now a living museum, rich in culture, tradition, religion, history, and has successfully preserved its environment in its pristine form. Though there is no quota or limit on the number of tourists allowed to visit Bhutan, the volume of tourists visiting to Bhutan is regulated to a manageable level by the constraints of tourism infrastructure and the high tourist tariff set by the Royal Government of Bhutan.

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