The Department of Tourism of Bhutan has certified over 200 non-star hotels out of approximately 300 hotels reviewed in a bid to promote the tourism sector in the country.

The Bhutan Live reported that this move follows the Cabinet’s recent decision to allow non-star hotels to offer tourism services if they meet the department’s minimum standards.

Since Bhutan’s tourism industry reopened in September, only certified hotels are allowed to cater to tourists.

The decision is intended to safeguard and improve the overall tourist experience.

While the Department of Tourism has been attempting to evaluate the hotels, over 60 properties are awaiting assessment due to a staff shortage.

The director general told the publication that despite the workforce issues, the evaluation of the other hotels is expected to begin soon.

Department of Tourism director general Dorji Dhradhul said: “Right now, we have divided the work but we are facing a manpower shortage. However, we will begin the assessment works as soon as possible.

“This is intended for economic revival. The Department of Tourism will be assessing the quality of the non-star hotels and ensure that the hotels meet the minimum standards.”

The director general added that the certification process is carried out to ensure that tourists receive the high-value experience promised by the tourism policy of high-value low volume rather than to showcase star ratings.

The tourism department has established hotel requirements, including sanitation, cleanliness, comfort, safety, facilities and services. The hotels will only be eligible for star I and II status after meeting the criteria.

The country has roughly 500 registered non-star hotels.