Bhutan to charge Rs 1200 entry fee for Indian tourists

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 05, 2020

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Entry into Bhutan  will no longer be free for Indian tourists. The Bhutan government on Monday passed legislation imposing an entry fee on tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, according to media reports.

The fee will be charged from July 2020.

Tourists from India, Bangladesh ad Maldives will have to pay a ₹1,200 fee for entering the country. The fee is called a ‘Sustainable Development Fee’ (SDF).

The decision comes in light of the increasing number of ‘regional tourists’ to the region and its effect on Bhutan’s ecology. SDF goes directly to the Bhutan government and the government coffers as direct revenue. The fee is meant to help the government tackle the sharp rise in the number of tourists in terms of traffic control. It also contributes towards the government’s initiatives regarding social welfare of Bhutanese citizens, according to the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

According to the Tourism Council of Bhutan’s Annual Report, India is the main source of visitors to the country. India’s share in visitors to Bhutan is more than 69 per cent with more than 19 lakh tourists visiting the country. 

Foreign tourists are already charged $65 SDF as part of their Minimum Daily Package which covers meals, accommodation and transportation. SDF is calculated as $65 multiplied by the number of international leisure arrivals and the number of nights spent in Bhutan.

The Minimum Daily Package is priced at $250 during high season and $200 during off-season for foreign tourists.

Tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldivesare categorised as regional tourists because of different entry requirements and are exempt from the fee.

SDF contributed more than $20 million to Bhutanese government’s direct revenue from tourism.

Published on February 05, 2020

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