Indian tourists heading to Bhutan, prepare yourself to shell out a bit more to enter the beautiful country. The country plans to put in a new policy that plans to levy charges on tourists from neighbouring countries including countries like India, Bangladesh and Maldives.
A rising influx of tourists from countries, mainly India was a point of discussion between Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at New Delhi.
According to the Hindu,
In contrast to other international tourists, who pay $250 (Approx. INR. 18,000), as a minimum charge per day per person, which includes a $65 a day “Sustainable Development Fee”, as well as a $40 visa charge, tourists from India, B.angladesh and the Maldives had so far paid no fees, and were able to cross over without visas.
Adding to policy Director-General of TCB Dorji Dhradhul mentioned,
The essence of our 'High Value, Low Impact' policy is that we will monitor our tourist arrivals depending on our capacity to cater to them. Over the last few years, the number of tourists has been increasing at a really rapid rate, growing about 10 times in the past decade, and this policy was under threat.
Dharadul, however, added that Bhutan is not trying to cut tourism, especially from India and said that they want to grow in a sustainable manner.
After hydropower, tourism is the most important source of revenue, so any impact on tourism does affect us. This is why we are keen to mainstream regional tourism, and bring it on par with our tourism policy for international tourists.
The Bhutanese government also wants to stop regional tourists from using low-rent accommodations as this has led to the rise of unregulated guest houses and homestays including Airbnb.
Out of the 2,74,000 tourists who visited Bhutan in 2018, the council estimated that about 2,00,000 were from the regional countries, out of which about 1,80,000 were from India.
H/t: The Hindu