The Himalayan nation of Bhutan recently changed its regulations for tourists hailing from its neighbour India. Indian nationals might now have to shell out as much as Rs 1200 per day more than the earlier cost of travel to Bhutan.
In a recent legislation passed by the lower house of Bhutan Parliament, Indian nationals, along with tourists coming from the Maldives and Bangladesh, would be required to pay a fee of 1200 Ngultrums (approximately Rs 1200 or $17) per day for stay in Bhutan. Prior to the legislation, Indian nationals were not levied upon any charges for staying in the country.
The legislation is synchronized with Bhutan’s current policy on tourism, which focuses upon high value and low volume, of tourists in a bid to preserve the ecological aspects of natural beauty, greenery and cleanliness of the country.
The fee, termed as Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), is meant to help the government deal with increasing number of tourists, which it is seeks to regulate. This fee is way lower than what Bhutan charges the tourists from other countries – $65 in addition to a compulsory flat ‘cover charge’ of $250 per day.
According to Dorji Dhradul, Director of Bhutan’s Tourism Council, SDF is meant to provide better facilities for the regional tourists. In an interview, Dhradul said that levying SDF will help Bhutan ensure an exclusive experience for all tourists.
SDF will be implemented from July 2020. According to the Tourism Levy and Exemption Bill of Bhutan 2020, all adult Indian nationals will have to pay a fee of Rs 1200 per day, while children aged between 6 and 13 years will be charged Rs 600 per day. Children under the age of 5 years are exempted from paying the fee.
Last modified: February 24, 2020