Kathmandu, June 1
To encourage longer stays and more thorough exploration of all 20 dzongkhags, the Cabinet today approved 3 separate SDF incentives for visitors who pay in US dollars. The incentives are valid for stays in Bhutan between June 1, 2023, and December 31, 2024, and they take effect for reservations made from June 1, 2023, onward. The 7th Special Session of the LhengyeZhungtshog (LZ), which took place on May 30, 2023, approved the matter in question.
With effect from June 1, 2023, visitors may select any of the following choices based on their intended itinerary:
4 + 4: Spend the first four nights paying the SDF of USD 200 a night, per person, and get up to four more nights free of the daily levy.
• 7 + 7: Spend the first seven nights paying the SDF of USD 200 a night, per person, and get up to seven more nights free of the daily levy.
• 12 + 18: For the first twelve nights, pay the SDF USD 200 a night per person, and you'll get up to an additional eighteen nights free of the daily levy.
According to the Tourism charge Act of Bhutan 2022, children under the age of five are exempt from the SDF, and children between the ages of six and twelve are subject to a 50% concessionary charge.Any person over the age of 12 must pay the full SDF rate. Children who pay the SDF in US dollars receive the same long-stay SDF benefits that were previously described.
After the time period has passed, all incentives "reset." On the websites of the Departments of Immigration and Tourism, respectively, you can find an online calculator to assist with determining the total SDF payable per person at https://visit.doi.gov.bt/ and https://bhutan.travel/faqs.
The SDF incentives, according to H.E. Dr. Lotay Tshering, the Honourable Prime Minister of Bhutan, are intended to promote longer stays in the nation. To ensure that we concentrate on high value, low volume tourism, he continued, "in forming these options, we have listened to the feedback of the industry, to the recommendations of ABTO and other stakeholders, while also balancing the original vision behind the revisions to our tourism strategy in the first place.
The SDF will only be applicable to visitors to Bhutan with a tourist visa, according to the government, which has officially confirmed this. Other visitor categories that come under the "non-tourist" category will be in accordance with the Department of Immigration's regulations, details of which can be viewed on.
Furthermore, visitors will also soon be given another opportunity to meaningfully contribute to Bhutan’s progress. Each visitor will be offered the chance to plant a tree towards Bhutan’s goal of one million new trees, helping to maintain the kingdom’s carbon-negative status and exceptional forest cover. Tree saplings will be provided to guests who wish to plant them during their stay in Bhutan.
According to Dorji Dhradhul, Director General of Bhutan's Department of Tourism, "These special incentives are an opportunity for our friends from around the world to experience more, travel farther, and stay longer -- and by doing so, to actively participate in progress and preservation that benefits our citizens and the larger world." With these incentives, the recently revised monument fees, the 24-hour SDF waiver for border towns, and other initiatives, Bhutan could become more approachable for a wider variety of visitors.