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Travelling to Bhutan to get expensive for Indians; tourists must pay fees

BusinessToday.In     November 19, 2019

Bhutan is planning to levy charges on tourists travelling from India, Maldives and Bangladesh. This measure has been taken due to rising influx of tourists in the Land of Thunder Dragon.

The new draft tourism policy, which is prepared by Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), is said to be finalised by the Bhutanese cabinet in December.

The latest draft was discussed by Bhutanese Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Delhi on Monday.

Currently, tourists from international destinations pay $250 (Rs 18,000 approx) as a minimum charge per day per person, which includes a $65 a day "Sustainable Development Fee", as well as a $40 visa charge. Whereas tourists from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives don't need to pay any fees or carry visa.

However, under Bhutan's new draft tourism policy, Indians would be charged a Sustainable Development Fee, as well as a "permit processing fee".

Furthermore, Bhutanese government is also looking forward to stop regional tourists from using low-rent accommodation offered online, as this has led to unregulated guest houses and homestays, including Airbnb, said  Director-General of TCB Dorji Dhradhul.

In 2018 about 2,74,000 tourists visited Bhutan. Out of which 1,80,000 were alone from India, reported The Hindu.

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