Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)

The Royal Government of Bhutan has adopted a very cautious approach to the development of tourism in the kingdom in effort to avoid its negative impacts on the culture and environment. Guided by the unique tourism policy of “High Value and Low Impact”.

All tourists have to pay Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) per person per night. For the majority of the countries, it was200 USD until recently when government decided to lower the SDF by 50% (100 USD) to attract more tourist. This incentive is valid only until end of 31st August, 2027. Children below 5 are exempted and below 12 pay 50%. Regional tourists pay 1200 INR (15 USD) with no discounts applicable. The government has revised SDF from US$ 65 to US$ 200 per day per person (before government SDF incentive) with the focus on three key areas, upgrading of infrastructure, the elevation of tourists’ experience, and maintaining carbon-neutral tourism.


For any visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan you need to obtain your visa prior to your travel and you can apply directly online after paying the visa fee & SDF or you may just want to avail all arrangements (itinerary, flights and visa)through a licensed local tour operator such as Bhutan Signature Tours. To process for your visa, we need the following;

  • A scanned copy/picture of the photo page of each guest’s passport (valid for 6 months from the date of travel)
  • A full payment for the tour including Sustainable development fee USD 100 per day per person (valid until 31st August, 2027 until further notice)
  • Travel insurance valid for the duration of the trip; and
  •  A recent digital passport size photograph.

Tour cost

If visitor comes for sightseeing tour, trekking etc. the full package which includes standard accommodation, guide, transportation, meals and the REVISED SDF will cost approximately as follows:

  • Organized groups: 200 to 250 USD per person per day 
  • Couples: 250 to 275 USD per person per day
  • Solo travellers:around 300 USD per day

Prices as above are our rough estimates and might differ depending on many factors, especially hotel rates, distances driven etc. Price is subject of free market competition.

Tourists might also just come to Bhutan after paying SDF USD 100 per person per day (after the 50% discount provided by the government until 31st august, 2027) and then to stay in 3 star hotels certified by Department of Tourism. However, without the expertly and individually crafted tour package, visitor will most likely experience considerably less in longer time compared to what is possible with fine-tuned program, private transport and professional and friendly guide.

With the tour organized by Bhutan Signature Tours, there was always flexibility and freedom. What we did was to work hard on every guest's individual needs and wishes and seamlessly making it to the reality whenever possible. Without tour operators support and knowledge, visitors will often miss opportunities they even don't know that exist.


  • There shall be no charge for the children up to the age of 5 years. However, those between the ages of 6-12 years accompanied by the elders/guardians shall be given 50% discount on SDF (sustainable development fee) which is US $ 50 per day (after the incentives provided by the government which is valid until 31st august, 2027).

Regional tourism from India

While international tourism is now heavily curtailed, regional tourism remains mostly untouched by the current reform.

Uncontrolled inflow of regional tourists was considered huge problem before covid. Regional tourists could come only after getting travel permit and then travel freely. However, from the 1st July 2020, new policy was supposed to come in place requiring regional travellers to arrange travel permit from Bhutanese Tour Operator, and also getting the hotel, transport, and guide travel package. They were also supposed to pay SDF of 1200 Rs/Nu (15 USD) per person per day. Unfortunately, this policy was never tested, since COVID-19 stopped all tourism from 5th March 2020.

As per new policy, the Indian travellers still have obligation to arrange the transportation and guide, but they will not need tour operator for their permit processing. Also, they will have to pay SDF of 1200 Rs/Nu per day. No discounts on that, even toddlers have to pay the same.