What is the Minimum Daily Tariff?
All tourist visiting Bhutan with the exception of Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian nationals are subject to the minimum tariff levied on daily basis times the number of nights spent in the country. The stipulated daily tariff for a group of 3 persons or more is as follows:
- USD 200 per person per night for the months of December, January, February, June, July and August
- USD 250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October and November
Note* There is a surcharge of USD 40 per person per night added to the daily tariff for individual traveler or for a group of up to 2 persons.
What tourists should understand is that the minimum daily tariff is an all-inclusive package (terms and conditions apply). The minimum daily tariff includes the following:
- A minimum of 3 star accommodation (Accommodation rating implemented as per Tourism Council of Bhutan’s requirement criteria)
- All meals.
- A personal licensed tour guide for the entire stay.
- All ground transport.
- Camping equipment and haulage for all trekking tours.
All trips to Bhutan must be booked through a certified local tour operator however you can calculate the cost of your trip to Bhutan as shown below:
(Applicable minimum daily tariff * number of nights) + One time VISA processing fee of USD 40 per person
Now that we understand what Minimum Daily Tariff is, let’s look at why should not look for the cheapest offer from the local agents even though that may seem counter intuitive:
1. Quality Trip
Unless your idea of a perfect vacation is to stay at a stinking hotel room with horrible guest service, get around the country in a car that you aren’t sure if it’s safe to drive and guided by an unprofessional tour guide, we recommend tourists to book a trip at the stipulated rate to ensure quality service and thereby a memorable trip. Of course booking with a good tour operator goes without saying.
2. Sustainable Development Fee
The Government collects a fixed amount of USD 65 from the minimum daily tariff known as the sustainable development fee. The revenue generated is channeled into infrastructure building, providing education and free public health care in the country. What tourists should realize is that irrespective of the daily tariff charged by the local agent, deducting the sustainable development fee off the daily tariff takes precedence over everything else. If tourists are paying less than the stipulated daily tariff to begin with, a local tour operator like any other business entity will offset the discount extended to the tourists by offering substandard service to protect his net margin.
3. Against the Government Regulation
The minimum daily tariff is a regulation set by the Royal Government of Bhutan. All tour operators are expected to strictly follow the regulation and sell their packages as per the stipulated tariff. The Tourism Council of Bhutan monitors the adherence to this regulation. A tourist visa will be denied if the tour operator fails to comply with this regulation. However the market does acknowledge the existence of malpractice of undercutting with competition ever rising among the tour operators.
Therefore as tourists, aside from protecting its self interest in getting a quality service, it is also a social responsibility of the tourists to discourage this professional misconduct and support service providers who play by the rules.
If you are planning to visit Bhutan, check out our tour cost calculator to get an approximate cost for your tour.