Prime Minister Jigme Thinley since April since 2008.
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The Kingdom of Bhutan has adopted a cautious approach to tourism to avoid any negative impact on the country's culture and environment. All tourists, group or individual, must travel on a pre-planned all inclusive guided tour through a registered tour operator in Bhutan or their counterparts abroad. The basic rate is fixed by the government.
There are still plenty of takers wanting to explore the breathtaking mountains and valleys of this astonishing country. The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning it must be environmentally friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. The number of tourists is also kept to a manageable level by the limited infrastructure. The Bhutanese name for Bhutan, Druk Yul, means 'Land of the Thunder Dragon'. Much of Bhutanese history is lost in legends but the first major event was the arrival of Guru Rinpoche, believed to have brought Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet in the eighth century. Bhutan, the world's last Mahayana Buddhist kingdom, became a coherent political entity around the 17th century and has never been conquered or ruled by another foreign power. Bhutan is a peaceful country with strong traditional values based on religion, respect for the royal family and care for the environment.
Travellers must arrange any visit to Bhutan through an authorised travel agent. Those travelling independently are not permitted to enter Bhutan. Most visits are trouble-free.
While the threat of terrorism in Bhutan remains low, a series of bomb blasts occurred in Thimphu, Samste, Chukha and Dagana on 20 January 2008, injuring one person. The Royal Bhutan Police have also confirmed that an unexploded bomb was found in a vegetable market in Dagana.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: