National Tourism Policy To Be Implemented By July 2020: Tourism Council Of Bhutan


Promoting ‘High value and low volume’ tourism has been Bhutan’s policy for the last 50 years.

(Source: David Lazar)


By Dechen Tshomo| Kuensel

Bhutan is expected to have a national tourism policy implemented by July next year; and the final draft of the policy is slated to be ready by December 2019.

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)’s Director-General, Dorji Dhradhul made this announcement during the signing of the TCB’s annual performance agreement (APA) with Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering on 8 August.  

The draft policy will be presented to the second tourism council meeting scheduled on 21 August. Dorji Dhradhul said that the council is hoping that the draft policy will be finalised, approved and implemented within this fiscal year.

“This is one of our top priority activities in this current APA. By the end of this APA period, our tourism policy should be in action.”

Promoting Bhutan as a ‘High value and low volume’ destination

Promoting ‘High value and low volume’ tourism has been Bhutan’s policy for the last 50 years.


Source: Druk Asia


“This has been our guiding policy statement. Now what we are trying to do is, keeping this as an overarching policy guideline, we are going to detail out the policy for the next 10 to 20 years.”

The regional (tourists from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives) and seasonal spread of tourism is one of the three key objectives of TCB’s APA.

“We will target to have regional balance and seasonal spread of tourist throughout the year.”

Dorji Dhradhul said that currently, only about five dzongkhags (districts) receive tourists and the rest of the dzongkhags are not really covered.

“This is what we will be trying to address. To take tourists to the places that don’t receive many visitors, we are trying to create new tourism products,” he added.

TCB’s APA this fiscal year includes conducting festivals in some of the dzongkhags that receive the least tourists such as the Zorig Chusum festival in Trashiyangtse and the Bird Festival in Zhemgang.

Promoting homestays as an alternative mode of accommodation in Bhutan

Other activities include supporting alternative modes of accommodations such as homestays.

“Except for the five dzongkhags, some places don’t have accommodation facilities. Even if we take tourist to these places, they don’t have a place to stay unless they stay in tents.”

In response to this situation, the TCB’s APA includes supporting about 30 to 40 homestays in dzongkhags where they receive the least number of tourists.

The aspiration to make Bhutan the number one tourist destination is another objective that guides the indicators in the APA this fiscal year. This means that any services which visitors experience should be ‘exclusive’, he explained.


Scene of a homestay with Bhutanese hosts.

Photo: Druk Asia


According to TCB’s visitors’ exit survey, the satisfaction level of tourists is between 80 to 90 percent.

“We hope to increase this to 100 percent.”

Facilities to be developed

This, he said would be done basically through providing improved services and amenities. The TCB has been allocated Nu 200 billion for development this fiscal year.

The council targets to construct a total of 18 roadside amenities, including nine along the highways across the country this fiscal year.

Dorji Dhradhul said that the locations will be selected in such a way that it will work in tandem with other facilities such as electric vehicle recharging station.

“We will also have a small convenient shop along with toilet facilities.”

Spreading the benefits from tourism across the population is the third major objective the TCB is trying to address in this APA.

Graphic: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2018


With the signing of the agreement, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that this is just the start of the work.

Talking about issues in tourism, the Lyonchhen said that while many people may regard undercutting as a major issue, it might actually not be a major one.

“The undercutting issue could be because of a lack of proper monitoring.”

If a good monitoring system and a proper policy exist, undercutting should not be a problem at all, the Lyonchhen added.

“Undercutting is an indirect indication that we don’t have a good monitoring system in place.”

The Lyonchhen said that the focus should be on the standard of services provided such as: the standard of the hotels, the minimum standard of the vehicle that a tourist should be travelling in and a minimum amount of money paid to guides.

At the end of the year, when the TCB shows its results, the Lyonchhen asked the TCB to not focus only on the number of visitors, but also on the quality of the visitors.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


Related Posts

Tourism Council Of Bhutan Conceived A Draft Strategy To Address...

"We need to manage this important sector of tourism through some regulations for the mutual benefit of the tourist...

Jun 02, 2019 21:08

Advocating Sustainable ‘High Value, Low Impact’ Tourism, Bhutan...

Although the increase of their arrivals has softened a little in 2018, the impact of the large numbers of regional...

Feb 28, 2019 15:50

Harnessing The Power Of Traditional Medicine, Wellness Tourism...

Traditional medicine has been gaining popularity in providing health care services to the Bhutanese.

May 29, 2019 19:48

Unique Products From 20 Districts Of Bhutan Pitched To...

The tourism flagship programme seeks to advance the development, management, promotion and growth of the tourism sector...

May 09, 2019 19:18

Transforming The Economy Through Tourism: A High Value, Low...

What measures must Bhutan take to prevent the destruction that challenges other niche destinations, in a world where a...

Apr 16, 2019 15:46

Bhutan Has Great Potential To Be A Top Eco-Tourism Spot: Albert...

Despite Bhutan being home to a wide array of flora and fauna, it is still not a top ecotourism destination.

Jul 19, 2019 23:58



Bhutan Launched 21st Century Economic Roadmap To Engage Citizens On Nation’s Progress

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering launched the website and it can be accessed through

Feb 25, 2020 23:38

Bhutan’s Tarayana Foundation Launched Micro-loans For Rural Community Development

The pilot phase of the programme will start from this year in Samtse, Tsirang and Zhemgang for 18 months.

Feb 21, 2020 23:48


Tribes Of Bhutan - The Brokpas

Merak and Sakteng is home to the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic yak herding tribe who originated from the Tshoona region of Tibet.

Feb 22, 2020 23:48

Symbolism Of The Colourful Prayer Flags Of Bhutan

Learn about the rich symbolism of the colourful prayer flags of Bhutan.

Feb 16, 2020 23:28


Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08


Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58

Two ‘Made In Bhutan’ Products To Hit The Market Soon, Also Eyeing Overseas Foray

Druk Peci and Bhutan Green Product were launched on 19 February.

Feb 20, 2020 23:38


Forging the Unbeaten Trail Towards Wangdue Nye

When you dedicate year 2020 to hike on unbeaten trails in Bhutan.

Jan 21, 2020 10:58

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08


See Exquisite Garments On Display At The ‘Royal Robes - Wangchuck Dynasty’ Exhibition

The exhibition will remain open to the public until January 2021.

Feb 19, 2020 23:28

Nightlife in Bhutan

The nightlife is delaying the day by engaging with fun and recreational activities at owl hours. Thimphu Nightlife could fascinate you.

Feb 08, 2020 12:22

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!