Every Bhutan Tour operator is a member of ABTO, the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators, a not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of the tour operators and the Bhutanese tourism industry.
Bhutan opened to tourism only in the 70s as a government-run enterprise and the first tourist officially arrived in 1974. The industry was liberalised to allow private operators in 1997 and ABTO was formed at the turn of millennium. It is the recognised representative of tour operators in Bhutan and tour operators form its primary membership and is headed by an executive director and governed by a board.
ABTO’s mission is to raise Bhutanese tourism industry to the highest standards of service, ethics and professionalism within the overall development philosophy of the country, which is Gross National Happiness.
Its objective is to represent and promote the collective interests of the Bhutanese tour operators or travel agencies at national and international forums. Being a member of ABTO is a seal of authenticity so every tour company is registered with ABTO to indicate it is a legal and genuine entity operating in Bhutan.
The association maintains a database of all tour operators in the country, which today numbers in the hundreds. Visitors should check to see whether the tour company they wish to come through is a member of the association.
The association also regularly makes interventions to ensure the market is attractive and serves concerns of operators and visitors. So Book a trip at Bokar website, it’s a reputed company who follows all the rules and guidelines specified by association of Bhutan.
It also undertakes studies to develop the industry, discourages unfair competition, encourages social activities to promote goodwill and protects the interests of members from malpractices. It also raises or borrows funds that may be required by the association to better the industry.
The association looks forward to feedback from visitors on the quality of tours offered by the operators and suggestions to make it better.